The aims of the Garforth NPF are to promote the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of Garforth by preparing a neighbourhood plan for the area, which will help to shape the development of Garforth for the next 15 years

agm2016 workshop



An update on the work of the Forum

All reports from our 2024 AGM, held on March 20th are available on our website,

The following Steering group members were reappointed:

Liz Crosland - Chair, Richard Clarkson - Vice Chair, Sue McQuire - Secretary, Sam Williams - Treasurer, Chris Coyle - Membership Secretary and Website Lead, Walt Treloar - Facebook Page Lead.

Ordinary members: Cath Exley, Brian Flynn, Chris Lomas, Maurice Norman.

There are vacancies for four additional Steering group members. No qualifications are necessary except to be a Garforth resident with a desire to keep and improve the facilities and environment for Garforth residents, all we need is interest and support. We meet by Zoom once a month in the evening.

This is vitally important as Leeds City Council prepares their next planning period The Leeds Local plan 2040. Already Leeds has put out ‘a call for sites’ from landowners and once again most of the land in the green belt surrounding Garforth has been submitted as potential development sites.

The planning department are now looking at the suitability of all of these sites across the city and they plan to hold a public consultation in the autumn. Further information on this New Local plan can be found on the below links:

Now that the Neighbourhood Plan was passed at the referendum in June, the Forum can monitor how the plan policies are being applied by the  planning officers, when making decisions on planning applications relating to Garforth. We have met with the team leader for the East Leeds Planning Team and, although it is accepted that we cannot do the work of planning officers we are invited to keep involved and ensure that our contribution is heard.

Steering group members have also started work on progressing some of the projects identified in the plan, namely the restoration of the listed milestones on the Aberford, Wakefield and Selby roads. Milestones are the responsibility of the LCC Highways department, but we have been informed that there is no budget however they would accept volunteers undertaking the work and have directed us to the Milestone Society for restoration advice.

If you can offer support at our meetings by becoming a Steering group member, please contact our membership secretary by email .

The amount of time and effort by Steering group members varies from a ‘watching’ brief to  project involvement. You can participate as much as you wish.

We are volunteers and the Forum is a non-political group. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Steering group.


  AGM meeting on Wednesday 20th March 2024 at 7 pm .

  1. Agenda   link
  2. Financial Statement   link
  3. AGM Minutes for previous year   link

communities turnout

The result of the Garforth Neighbourhood Plan Referendum held on the 29th June this year were 2,015 in favour (75.16%) and 666 against (24.84%) with a 22.64% turnout.  This was an acceptable turnout for Neighbourhood plan referendums, particularly as the voting day did not coincide with a local election.

The Neighbourhood Planning Forum does not support any large-scale housing development. Over the past 60 years Garforth has been built out to the Green Belt boundary, and it was fortunate that the planning inspector deleted the massive development on the Garforth Cliff proposed by Leeds City Council in 2018, on the grounds that Leeds did not have the exceptional circumstances needed to authorise the release of more Green Belt land.

 Leeds is currently  progressing their Local Plan Update and more importantly their Leeds Local Plan 2040, when they envisage further development on the Green Belt land and settlement extensions.

Most of the land around Garforth is good quality agricultural land, Grades 2 and 3A. National Planning Policies states that land of a lesser grade be used in preference, but this did not prevent Leeds proposing to build on this good quality grade 2 land on the Garforth Cliff in 2018.

The Garforth Neighbourhood Planning Forum will continue to try and prevent further development on this good quality agricultural land.

One outcome of the Garforth Neighbourhood Plan being ‘made’ by LCC is that for any future developments  the community will receive 25% of any CIL money generated. This is money paid by the developer to help deliver the infrastructure needed to support development in the area. These funds are controlled by our councillors in the Leeds Outer East Community Committee, and we will look to work with them to progress those projects identified in the Plan as funds become available.


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The Result is in.....

referendum result


14/5/23    The Garforth Plan is Complete.       

It can be seen here (PDF) and here (Flipbook)

Referendum Date has been set -

Thursday 29th June


Read the Independent Inspector’s Report

In December 2022 the plan was submitted  to the examiner who having visited all locations in Garforth responded in January with several queries requiring  clarification both from ourselves and the LCC Neighbourhood Planning Team.

In February the examiner  gave his final report in which he congratulated GNPF for their  detailed work and recommended  several changes to the policy wording  and maps after which the plan could proceed to referendum. These amendments were suggested to ensure that Policies were written correctly as this would become a legal document which the local authority planners and developers have to take the policies  into account when submitting and approving any planning applications.

We have now completed all the suggested amendments and submitted it to LCC.

The referendum date has been agreed with the Electoral Services and will be held on Thursday 29th June.

The activities of the GNPF will now turn to publicising the referendum.



The Garforth Neighbourhood Plan and how it could influence planning decisions.


In 2013 Leeds City Council had plans to build 77,000 dwellings. The city was divided into 11 areas. Each area was required to find sites for similar numbers regardless of brownfield, green field or green belt land available and landowners were invited to put their land forward for development.

Nearly every field surrounding Garforth was put forward for development by the landowners.   Concerned residents contacted our councillor Mark Dobson who organised a meeting and informed those present of the government’s new Locality Act (2011) which enabled local residents to write a Neighbourhood Plan for their area. This plan, once voted for at a Referendum would be a legal planning document with policies that both the Local authority and developers would have to take into account when granting planning permission.

The residents attending agreed to form a Garforth Neighbourhood Planning Forum (GNPF) and produce a Neighbourhood Plan. Following publicity events membership grew and the legal process was completed and the GNPF was established.

The Forum undertook many public surveys to seek out the views and concerns of Garforth residents, details of which are listed on this website.

People were concerned about the impact of another large housing estate proposal near the garden centre on Garforth Cliff. There were concerns around a number of  issues  which would  increase the pressure and difficulties accessing GP services, , the acknowledgement that schools were already at 100% capacity, the  road congestion at peak periods, difficulty in parking near Main Street shops, the proliferation of Hot Food Takeaways,  the surface water flooding in many parts of Garforth due to antiquated drainage systems, the closure of community facilities and the loss of green spaces in and around Garforth for the  development of houses that young people could not afford to purchase.


Content of The Neighbourhood Plan

The plan has policies which seek to address these issues which affect the health and well-being of Garforth residents:

  • Housing and the built environment
  • Education and health
  • Green Space and the rural environment
  • Community and leisure
  • Business, employment and the Town Centre
  • Transport


The Housing and built environment section.

  Acknowledging the concerns expressed by local residents including the lack of infrastructure, the Plan is not identifying or supporting any large-scale development sites. Garforth has expanded to the north, east and west and the only small pocket of green belt remaining is to the south along the Selby Road. However, this was eroded by Leeds city Council when, in 2006, they designated a section of green belt land (opposite the Gaping Goose) specifically for a future housing development.

Whilst the GNPF plan has to conform to  National and the Leeds City Council policies, small sites within the urban area of Garforth and not within the Green Belt are likely to be granted permission subject to national building regulations e.g. the old Clinic site near the police station. The GNPF suggested that the site would be suitable for a development of small terrace bungalows with a communal garden suitable for older residents. This suggestion was ignored in favour of 2 x 6-bedroom homes and 2 sets of 3-bedroom semi-detached homes.

Another application for 8x 2-bedroom homes which would have been more suitable for first time buyers on the site of the old Bird in Hand Pub on the Grange estate was rejected by the Leeds City Council planners in favour of a 4-bedroom detached and 2 sets of 3-bedroom semi-detached homes.

If our plan had been formally passed at referendum, then our policies may have enabled the construction of smaller homes suitable for first time buyers or older residents.

 The GNPF plan also advocates suitable use of water policies to slow down surface water flooding with improved and separate drainage and sewage systems.

The Forum undertook a detailed survey of all the character areas of Garforth as each housing estate differs in design.  The Plan policies request that any infill application should reflect the character of the immediate area, using similar designs, space between houses and building materials. This is of concern as there is pressure from Leeds City Council policies to increase housing densities and little legislation of materials used in construction.

  The GNPF plan should prevent unsuitable development out of character with the immediate area.

The GNPF plan would encourage the use  of construction materials that maximise the energy efficiency of new dwellings.

Further detail on all these policies are available in the full plan

Heritage Assets

 Garforth is listed in the Doomsday Book, however very little of Garforth’s history remains visible. Garforth Old Hall on the Selby Road opposite Lidgett Lane was demolished for the construction of a dual carriage way which was never built, and many older properties and farm buildings demolished to make way for the housing developments. Evidence of Garforth’s mining heritage completely vanished overnight in 2018 when the last pit winding building on the old Stocks site on Ninelands Lane was demolished.

 LCC has listed seven heritage assets, including milestones, bridges, Barrowby Hall and St Mary’s Church. With the help of residents, we have listed many more interesting buildings reflecting Garforth’s historical past. It is of concern that, in order to provide much needed level access to both platforms, one of the listed heritage assets, the railway footbridge, is to be removed to another location and completely lost to Garforth.

The GNPF plan identifies many more buildings as Non-Designated Heritage Assets to be protected from demolition or unsuitable conversions.


Education and Health

As Garforth experienced estate after estate, primary schools were provided, and a new secondary school was built. These schools were provided with relatively generous school playing fields.

 There has been pressure to develop on school playing fields e.g.  Scholars Gate on Lidgett Lane. Leeds has designated all school playing fields as designated and protected green spaces, however, if various criteria are met, they can be developed.

The GNPF Plan seeks to give additional protection to all school playing fields and so prevent them from development.

 Parents are understandably concerned that class size should not keep expanding. The 2 current developments on Ninelands Lane and the Selby Road will amount to over 500 new properties. According to Leeds City Council (LCC) they will generate an additional 160 primary and 120 secondary school children. Given that our schools are at capacity, this is of real concern.

In 2016 the clinic on Lidgett Lane was closed by the Leeds Community Health Council and facilities were relocated to Kippax despite Garforth having a larger population!   The 2 current developments  will generate an additional 1,180 residents (using LCC housing density estimates). Healthcare provision is not within the remit of LCC and there are no limits on the number of patients on a GP list. Unfortunately, there have not been any plans to increase healthcare provision.

 The GNPF Plan seeks to protect the 3 GP surgery sites for healthcare use  or  improved services provided elsewhere within Garforth.

Further details on all these policies are available in the full plan


Community and Leisure

Garforth has a large population with many voluntary organisations and activities requiring venues in which to meet. There are several buildings which host these events, but they are in great demand and heavy usage takes its toll on the fabric of the buildings. Garforth cannot afford to lose any of these facilities.

The GNPF Plan has listed all these community facilities to be protection from development unless an equivalent facility is provided elsewhere in Garforth.

Further details on all these policies are available in the full plan.

Green Space and the Rural environment

Residents are concerned at the loss of greenfield sites within and around Garforth. Past developments were supposed to provide a minimum of 88 m2 per dwelling to be used as various uses e.g. parks, outdoor sports, allotments, children’s play areas. Leeds has now reduced this green space provision to 44m2 at the request of the developers.

It is unfortunate that the green space quantity and quality in Garforth does not match the Leeds Site Allocation Plan (SAP) Green Space criteria. This year the planning department finally refused planning permission for the development of the cricket ground on Church Lane. It took 3 years to arrive at this decision and was not based on the removal of the land on Church Lane but the impractically of the replacement club on the Selby Road.

The GNPF plan seeks additional protection from development for all the SAP green spaces within Garforth and has recommended the provision of 3 additional children’s play areas.

 The Plan has also listed several other smaller sites within Garforth for protection and has recommended that these could be used for tree and landscape planting.

The only land left around Garforth is grade 2 agricultural land to the east and mostly grade 3a along the Wakefield and Selby Road. Given the global situation and the need for the country to be more self-sufficient in food production this land should be protected from development. We had hoped to make this one of our policies, but the Plan’s independent examiner removed this policy on the grounds that this is a national statutory requirement. However, this did not stop Leeds City council from proposing the loss of large tracts of this good quality agricultural land in 2018. Virtually all the good quality agricultural land in Leeds runs north south along the A1.  We were fortunate that the  Site Allocation Plan (SAP) Hearings Inspector withdrew this site along with Parlington on the grounds that Leeds had not demonstrated the exceptional circumstances necessary for the removal of the green belt land.

Leeds has once again put forward green belt land for development for their next Local Plan for Housing development by 2040.

Further details on all these policies are available in the full plan.


Business, employment and the Town centre

Garforth has a dedicated industrial employment site on the Aberford Road which will be continued to the roundabout at Junction 25 on the M1. This is on the site of the Isabella pit and regarded as brownfield land and suitable for development especially as it is so close to the MI.  Permission has been granted for a large distribution centre which will generate a great deal of additional traffic as it will be a 24/ 7 operation.  The Forum requested that access should be available from the roundabout (thereby curtailing the additional traffic from the Aberford Road) and that the loading bays be oriented away from Briarlands and Cedar Ridge, however this request was not accepted by the planning department.

The GNPF supports employment usage on the industrial site on the Aberford Road and encourages landscape planting, effective drainage systems and safe transport routes.

Residents have expressed concerns about the proliferation of Hot Food Takeaway (HFT) premises which have been established when previous retail shops closed.  Main Street is well supplied with a variety of pizza, curry, Chinese and fish and chip venues. The Leeds SAP has a Supplementary Planning policy which would seek to restrict the number of HFT however the current criteria/ restrictions would still allow far more to be opened.

The GNPF plan   does not support additional Hot Food takeaway premises at the expense of other retail, office or community premises.

There are several domestic apartments above the retail shops on Main Street. These provide additional accommodation for shop owners or other tenants.

The GNPF Plan would encourage residential use above ground floor shop premises.

 Main Street Parking

This is of great concern to Garforth residents. Although there are 3 municipal car parks (2 close to Main Street and another on Barley Hill Park/ recreation ground) these are almost always full. A survey conducted by GNPF members found that the 2 car parks close to main Street were occupied all day by 50 % of the cars and 25% of cars stayed for half a day. Car parking is allowed along both sides of Main Street and because of numerous daily delivery vehicles and bus routes the street is invariably congested.

The site at Town End had been suggested for a long stay carpark for business on Main Street, however this has yet to be progressed. At present there are no parking charges as these have been resisted by the retail traders on Main Street.

The GNPF plan supports measures to address parking issues on Main Street.

Further details on all these policies are available in the full plan.



Leeds city Council promotes ’Active‘ travel with less reliance on  individual car journeys. There are several bus routes through Garforth and Main Street but congestion especially on Church Lane and queues to the traffic lights at Townend and the Selby Road cause delays.

 The Leeds Planners granted permission for a 24/7 operational distribution centre on the Aberford Road when the only public transport is a 2-hour service which does not currently operate at the weekend.

 The GNF plan would help to ensure that prior to permission being granted for future development on the industrial estate a regular public transport  service would  be available for employees.




Garforth Neighbourhood Forum has now submitted its Garforth Neighbourhood Plan proposal to Leeds City Council for independent  examination.

Full details of how to see the plan documents and how to make representations can be found on our Presubmission Plan page via the menu on the left or by clicking here

24/1/2023 Click here to see the Examiner’s Questions and the responses from LCC and GNPF



Having Your Say...

In the first quarter of 2021 we asked for your feedback on the Reg 14 version of the Garforth Plan. Thousands of you visited our website to read the plan and made over seven hundred comments and suggestions. The Writing Team have gone through all comments received in fine detail to consider whether any changes should be made.  Below is a link to the full set of everybody’s comments with Writing Team feedback as and when appropriate. To make the task easier for plan writers the feedback was sorted into policy sequence to pull all policy specific comments together.

Click here to view the Comments Document

Click to see the full Reg 14 version of Garforth Plan in PDF format or Flipbook format
Garforth Neighbourhood Plan Update September 2021

It has been a few months since our Regulation 14 Consultation, January to March 2021, and firstly thank you again for participation. Your feedback and opinions help shape the plan.

So, what’s been happening since?

General comments:

We received 739 written comments from residents, statutory bodies, local councillors and Leeds City Council, some of these are very detailed. Our writing team are reviewing every comment to assess if any change to the plan is required and making said changes. Due to the tremendous volume this process will continue to take a few more months.

Policy responses:

We asked for your comments per policy and section of the plan. For the 53 policies within the plan we asked if you agreed (92%), maybe (7%) or disagreed (1%).

What are the next stages after the revised draft plan is produced?

  • Submission to Leeds City Council
  • Examination
  • Referendum

As we approach and progress through each stage we’ll keep you updated on the progress and steps involved.

Thank you for your patience whilst this review is undertaken and again thank you for all your support.

The Garforth Plan Website of Garforth Neighbourhood Planning Forum ( GNPF )


Welcome to the Garforth Neighbourhood Planning Forum’s website. The Garforth Neighbourhood Planning Forum is a group of volunteers/residents in Garforth who have committed to preparing a neighbourhood plan for the Garforth Neighbourhood Area.   The Forum was established in 2014 in response to the Council’s emerging plans and proposals for the area, set out in the Site Allocations Plan. Since then, the Forum has been working on collecting evidence, surveying and talking to local residents and other stakeholders, and preparing a plan that will set out how we wish Garforth to develop to make it a more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable place to live and work.

Neighbourhood plans are statutory land-use planning documents, which include policies and projects to shape the development of an area over the long term. They are prepared through a process of engagement and consultation with local residents and other stakeholders, and should reflect the needs and aspirations of the area in the future. Once the plan has been adopted, it will be used by Leeds City Council, the Local Planning Authority, to help determine planning applications in the Garforth Neighbourhood Area.

The Forum is made up of 286 members, both people and businesses, and is open to anyone who lives, works or carries out business in the neighbourhood area. We have a Steering Group who are responsible for the overall preparation of the plan and management of the neighbourhood planning process. We have a Working Group, responsible for preparing the evidence base for the plan and co-ordinating surveys and consultations. And finally we have a Writing Group, responsible for pulling the plan together based on the engagement and on local evidence.

For more information about neighbourhood planning and the planning process in general, visit here To join the Forum, visit this page.


We are currently preparing the pre-submission draft of the neighbourhood plan. This draft of the plan is based on the results of the surveys and engagement that the Forum has conducted with local residents and other stakeholders, and on locally sourced pieces of evidence, put together by the working group. To view the surveys and other evidence base material, visit the Evidence page.

Once this version of the plan is finalised, it will be subject to formal consultation in Garforth and will be sent to Leeds City Council for their formal comments. The consultation period will last for a minimum of 6 weeks, and there will be an opportunity to view the plan and supporting documents and make comments, to shape the submission draft plan.

Once we have made changes to the plan as a result of the consultation, it will be submitted to Leeds City Council for a final round of publicity, and then be subject to an independent examination. If the plan passes the examination process, it will come back to Garforth and be subject to a local referendum.

Everyone registered to vote in Garforth will be eligible to vote in the referendum, and it will ask the question:

“Do you want Leeds City Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Garforth to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

If there is a >50% yes vote, the plan will be made (adopted) by Leeds City Council, and will be part of the statutory development plan.

If you’d like to know more about the Forum and what it involves, feel free to send us an email at

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Become a Member of the Garforth Neighbourhood Plan Forum
Click here to go to the Membership page