About the Group
The Gledhow Valley Conservation Area Group began in 2003 in response to local concern over the drive for overdevelopment. People in the Gledhow area of Roundhay were surprised to learn that older properties and gardens had little statutory protection and that any external agent could buy and redevelop a site with little regard for the interests of local residents, not to mention style of architecture, settings, garden spaces and trees. Planning guidelines, although stronger then than now, could do little to fend off determined profiteering unless special status was conferred on an area by designation as a Conservation Area . Four of our original committee members were working with the Roundhay Planning Forum which eventually produced the “ROUNDHAY NEIGHBOURHOOD DESIGN STATEMENT” (a published document which is incorporated into official Supplementary Planning Guidance – SPG ).
Armed with increased awareness and support from local councillors, we approached the Senior Conservation Officer, Philip Ward, who encouraged us to draw up wider boundaries for a proposed Conservation Area in Gledhow. Starting at the Western edge of Roundhay Conservation Area with one of the last local sports fields that had been a field or ‘garth’ for centuries, and including the major features and properties of Gledhow around the C17 Hall site, it actually needed to encompass the whole of the woodland area of Gledhow Valley ( which had a low level of official protection under council and other ownership ). Also to be included was the length of Gledhow Lane with its historic Gipton Stone walls, the Grade II listed properties, meadows and tree rich gardens of Allerton Park and the relatively unprotected Chapel Allerton Hall.
Gledhow Valley Conservation Area would fill a neglected gap leading up to Chapel Allerton Conservation Area.
We were excited to discover the importance of so many features within the proposed Area including the amazing C17 bath house or Gipton Spa at the far end of Gledhow Valley Rd. and its links to Gledhow Hall, home to so many important Leeds dignitaries and industrialists and hub of the landscaped Park which became the woods in later years.
Group members collected archive and feature photographs , researched local history, archive documents and maps and, together with Philip Ward, finally achieved Conservation Area status for Gledhow Valley in December 2006 when the Appraisal was officially published. ( This is still accessible online on Leeds City Council website ).
One of the recommendations is for enhancement of the area and we have undertaken to achieve this in some measure. We have held fund raising events and applied to grant awarding bodies to enable us to pay for benches for pedestrians at either end of Gledhow Lane, Heritage litter bins for public use, heritage lighting columns at the ‘Gledhow Green Hub, the painting black of all new lighting columns in the Conservation Area, planting of bulbs, and of course a Blue Plaque to mark the significance of Gledhow Hall and its links to Leeds Civic History.
We were also funded by Healthy Leeds to create a walking trail and information leaflet which encourages people to get out and about on foot to enjoy the Area.
We are of course interested in Planning Issues, in Gledhow and beyond, and we do aim to comment on local plans and to support residents in making comments or applications.
As a Community Group we not only have a Constitution and Official Committee, we are now also a registered charity and our fund raising events don’t only produce financial results. One of our declared aims is to improve community cohesion , raise community awareness of the built and historic Heritage and help people of Gledhow and beyond be proud and part of where they live. We have held many styles of gatherings, including:
- A Cricket tea
- Talks on ‘Victorian Life’,’ Conservation Areas in Cities’ , ‘Modern Design for Conservation Areas’
- Garden Parties and exhibitions with refreshments and children’s activities
- Blue Plaque Inauguration Reception with the Lord Mayor
- Photographic and history exhibition at Chapel Allerton Library
- Grand Jubilee (indoor because of the rain!) Street Party
- An Art Exhibition- by a local artist, resident in Gledhow Hall, depicting local scenes among others.
We have been supported in these by local property owners, Gledhow Sports and Social Club, The Museums Service , Philip Ward, Leeds Civic Trust, architect David Cook, and artist, Judith Levin, to name but a few.
Interpretation Boards for the Area are in production and will help inform and delight walkers and regular pedestrian users of the Valley. These have been supported by The Yorkshire Gardens Trust and the Proceeds of Crime Act Fund as well as LCC Parks and Countryside Dept and ARK Design.