The Friends of Gledhow Field is a voluntary organisation which aims to preserve and improve Gledhow Field as a green space for the use and enjoyment of the people of Leeds. Gledhow Field is an open green space directly behind Gledhow Primary School in North East Leeds.
Gledhow Field has been owned by Leeds City Council since it bought the land on the 31st of August 1945. Gledhow field was part of the land sold to: “The Lord Mayor Aldermen and the Citizens of the City of Leeds”.
We have sent an open letter to all involved parties suggesting several possible ways forward which we believe provide the best, fairest solutions for the school and the community. The open letter can be read here.
In Spring 2015, our local community became aware of plans to close Gledhow Field to the public and, hearing that many were against this, The Friends of Gledhow Field, (FoGF), was created to protect the green space for current and future generations. There are many different needs for land within a growing city and it is felt that the best way to deal with this is by sharing or splitting the land. Therefore FoGF has been trying to negotiate a compromise which would be equally acceptable to both the school and the local community.
On the 17th of July 2015 we wrote a formal letter to the school and the three Roundhay Ward Councillors telling them that we intended to apply for Town/Village Green status for the field. We received no response from the school or the councillors and on the 3rd of August 2015 we submitted the application.
At the end of August a fence was put round the field denying access to the local community. An access path was left along one side of the field.
This did not put an end to our hope for a compromise, quite the opposite, we have continued to communicate with the school and council to encourage a fair solution and we are currently awaiting a response from our latest letter to the council. To date the school has not shown any willingness to negotiate or share the land with the community so we are continuing to pursue the Town Green application. We still hope that a compromise will be found and we will continue to fight for a fair solution to this important community issue.
Community/Maintained schools almost always occupy public land held by the local authority. Gledhow Field is owned by the council, not by the school.
There is nothing in the law that states how much land a school must have, therefore the school’s expansion programme to 3FE is not legally affected by the Town Green application.
FoGF was formed as a result of opposition to the field being closed. Almost 500 people signed a ‘Save the Field’ petition and a survey, (which was promoted by word of mouth, door to door knocking and through Social Media, including the School’s own website), showed that 92% of people want to keep the field open to public use.
Closing the field will result in stopping most of the community from using the land and will limit its use to just those pupils attending Gledhow Primary School. This means that even the pupils who benefit during school hours will lose the right to play on the land during the evenings, weekends and school holidays. Registering the land as a Town Green will allow all members of the community, including the school if they wish, to use the land.
FoGF has always sought to compromise and continues to do so.
In March this year the Commons Registration Authority (CRA), part of Leeds City Council, accepted that the Town Green application is valid, the notification from Leeds City Council stated:
‘Further to previous correspondence I can now confirm that the Chief Planning Officer has determined that the above application should be considered as duly made pursuant to the requirements of Regulation 3 of the 2007 Regulations and in view of the circumstances should proceed to be publicised pursuant to the requirements of Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006. The application will therefore be published on Thursday 25 March and copy of the attached notice will be published in the Yorkshire Post and also posted on site. Please note that a copy of the application, with supporting evidence, will now be sent to all interested parties. The closing date for objections or representations is 12 May 2016, following which I will forward to you all correspondence received.’
What Can You do to Help Keep This Green Space Open to the Public?
If you have ever used the field for recreation or sport please contact us. Recreation can be things like: playing, socialising, walking the dog, going for a walk on the field, picnicking, reading a book or simply enjoying the peace and quiet. Sport can be just a kick around, running, jogging or playing any games – they don’t have to have been official or organised. The more people who write statements the better. If you want to give a statement and help keep the field open for the community please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org The closing date for us to submit your statement is 12 May 2016.
The Friends of Gledhow Field put together a report which gives the results of our survey, petition, research and community engagement campaign. We believe this report is a fair, honest and accurate statement of the facts. The report is here “Results and Findings of a Survey, Petition, Research and Community Engagement Campaign by the Friends of Gledhow Field”
In the words of Leeds City Council’s Open Space, Sport and Recreation Assessment:
“Good quality, accessible green space has an important role to play in people’s lifestyle choices. As land becomes more densely populated and Leeds expands, the quantity of green space available for public use is placed under increasing pressure. The opportunities to create new green space in urban areas are few, due to requirements to accommodate housing demand and economic growth. Consequently, the number of people using green space has increased, creating additional demands on the space which are detrimental to the quality of the space and its ability to perform its function successfully; whether it be a park, recreation ground, children’s play area or an area of woodland. It is critical that green space of the correct type, with the required facilities is provided in the right locations if the positive benefits towards people’s physical and mental health and well being are to be secured. It is also essential to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change.”