CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Greenbelt have won an important battle which will allow their case to be heard in court.

Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum is challenging Leeds City Council’s Site Allocations Plan which they say will “delete” stretches of green space on Ings Lane, Wills Gill, Hollins Hill at Guiseley, and Victoria Avenue at Yeadon.

Now the forum will get to put its case over a two-day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London after a judge rejected an attempt to stop the challenge.

Leeds City Council had made an application to the High Court in December arguing that the forum did not have the ‘legal standing’ to challenge its decision to release Green Belt in Aireborough for the Site Allocations Plan.

But the council lost its case after the Judge Mrs Justice Lieven said the argument being advanced by Leeds and two developers might be said to be an “unnecessary technical obstacle.”

The challenge hearing will now go ahead on February 4 and 5 - and campaigners are making an urgent appeal to raise the £20,000 needed for legal fees.

Jennifer Kirkby described the decision as a “win for democracy that has wider implications for civil society”.

She said: “ I believe looking at this judgement that we in Aireborough have underscored an important democratic right for local communities – and whatever else happens I will count that as a win that we should be proud of. I understand it is raising a lot of interest in the legal world across the country.”

Ms Kirkby added: “Despite the generosity of local residents and businesses we have not yet met the funding target for the hearing and need your help fairly urgently to pay for legal representation. We appreciate that many people were waiting to see if we got a hearing before making a contribution.”

Details of how to contribute can be found at The group says if it wins its case any costs awarded will go to a community project voted for by local people.

The forum has met with planning minister Esther McVey to discuss the issues with flooding on the Ings Lane proposed development site.

After the original crowdfunding appeal was launched a Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “We recognise that people care deeply about their local area and understand there will always be concerns about any new proposals. However, the government-appointed independent inspectors concluded that the Site Allocations Plan is sound, legally compliant and provides an appropriate basis for planning the city.”

The council said the Site Allocations Plan had been subject to a lengthy consultation and examination process