Big turnout for Otley housing protest walk

Ilkley Gazette: SUBMITTED PIC
Caption:  Children at Otley All Saints C of E Primary celebrate, with former PTA chairman Sara Quin and Year 3 pupil Holly Homes cutting the ribbon, the opening of two new playground shelters. (7755691) SUBMITTED PIC Caption: Children at Otley All Saints C of E Primary celebrate, with former PTA chairman Sara Quin and Year 3 pupil Holly Homes cutting the ribbon, the opening of two new playground shelters. (7755691)

More than 150 residents joined a community walk through some of Otley's under-threat green spaces last weekend.

The Sunday, June 29 event was organised by the ODD campaign to highlight the scale of local concern over future development plans for the town.

The participants, wielding banners, met at the Buttercross before walking towards the Irish Fields on the eastern side of Otley.

An ODD spokesman said: "The picturesque green spaces the procession passed through are all threatened by Leeds City Council’s proposal for housing and industry."Under the council's Site Allocation Plan, Otley can expect to

have 1,117 new houses built and a fair proportion of these are planned for acres of green space known as the 'east of Otley’ site.

"Sunday’s walk clearly showed the strength of feeling and support amongst the local community for an alternative approach to development here.

"Local mums talked about how their children played on the fields every night after school, and dog walkers and runners swapped tips about their regular routes."

Local resident Sara Quin added: “It was a great event. I hope more people write letters and sign the ODD campaign's petition.

"It would be a travesty it we lose these green fields. Build on brownfield, not greenfield!"

Mother-of-three Amie Smith echoed those sentiments. She said: "I am Otley born and bred and it shocks and deeply saddens me to think this beautiful space will be lost.

"My sons, aged seven and nine, play rugby and football on these fields most evenings, and my daughter is two and she absolutely loves the feeling of freedom here.

"It’s a completely different experience to a play park - we all love to see the wildlife here, including the rabbits, and also the horses and piglets in the barn."

More than 1,500 residents have now signed the ODD campaign's petition, which opposes the proposed future housing levels for the town.

The group is also calling for previously developed, brownfield sites to be earmarked before any green land is considered.

More details can be found at http://theoddcampaign.webs.com/ .

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