How did it all start?
Around the year 2000 Yorkshire Bank stopped using its sports ground in Moortown and started seeking a property developer who would purchase the site for housing. A group of people living around the periphery of the site got together and successfully beat off planning applications, then formally constituted Moortown Community Group in 2008. The protection of the site from wholesale housing development has been one of our objectives since that date.
Formed in the Summer of 2012, this group, set up by former MCG committee members intended to focus entirely on the Yorkshire Bank site. Its principal plan was to sell approx 20 plots of land within the site for controlled housing development , leaving the majority of the site for community use. The money raised from sale of plots would be used to raise £1m, which it was thought would be sufficient to purchase the site.
A development proposal that might have given us a park?
The house builder Bellway approached interested parties, including MCG about a proposed development. Their first intention had been, like those that went before, to cover the majority of the site with housing: we listened and told them we would object forcefully. To our surprise they came back with a proposal to put far fewer houses on the site and gift the majority to the Council / community. We still felt that was more than local people could accept and they went away.
Our attempt to acquire the land for the community through the Community Right to Bid scheme had been unsuccessful.
Everything changed in 2013.
The developer Scotfield came on the scene this year and also consulted widely, also with a plan to put a lot of houses on the site, but they claimed to have paid Yorkshire Bank a lot of money for an option to buy the land. It was apparent that we would not now be likely to acquire the site, but we still told Scotfield we would oppose their plan. They came back with a further proposal to build 27-30 houses, again gifting the remainder of the site to the Council / community for a park. We felt that the world had moved on and that we would be better working with them to get the best possible result for the community.
The Scotfield proposal for Moortown Park
29 houses will be built on the south side of the site, covering 28% of the land, with road access only from Allerton Grove. The remaining 3.4 hectares will be gifted to Leeds City Council as a park, with part of this provided for use by Moortown Primary School. There will also be pedestrian access from Shadwell Lane. Existing mature trees on the site will be preserved. There will be landscaping enhancing the natural northward downhill slope of the parkland, through the centre of which will run play facilities.
Councillors, representatives of MCG, LTCT and Moortown Primary School have worked with council officers and Scotfield to get the best outcome for the community.
The housing site, park, and land for the school all received full planning permission and work started on site in January 2015. A further planning application to address changes to the levels within the proposed park was submitted and approved in July 2017. The legal process to transfer the land to Leeds City Council is now ongoing.
Friends of Moortown Park
The construction of the houses is now complete and the land for the park will be handed over to LCC Parks in third quarter 2017. A friends group has been formed to support the development of the park and the Friends of Moortown Park (FoMP) will take over from Moortown Community Group in leading the community input into the park. FoMP have a facebook page (click the image below) and would welcome volunteers to help.