Armley Town Street plans: Are pedestrianisation, shops and pop up venues the answer?

14 March 2019

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Ambitious plans to help revitalise the centre of Armley have been welcomed by residents and politicians.

As reported earlier this week, Leeds City Council is selecting Armley Town Street as its bid for a slice of the government’s £675m Future High Streets Fund – which could net the area an investment of up to £25 million.

Leeds City Council’s bid to turn Armley into a modern and vibrant community hub includes initial plans to improve the appearance and vitality of Town Street, improve safety for all road users and pedestrians as well as support new investment which respects the heritage of the area.

Since the announcement, social media has hosted a big debate on social media about what the money could be used for – if the council’s bid is accepted by the government. Here are some of the comments:

Louise Thornton said:

“I really don’t get this negativity about ‘foreign’ and ‘polish’ shops. A bit more of that would be great … I’d love a good Asian supermarket to add a bit more diversity 🙂 Currently you can get fresh meat and vegetables on town street so what’s the problem? I’d like to see it pedestrianised with public art, a pop up venue for local businesses and projects, a community space creating, for groups like Armley Common Right Trust. Some on going grant funding for small and medium scale community led projects.”

Helen Fay is a relative newcomer to Town Street but says it is definitely needs a revamp. She added:

“There is also a bit of a “down at heel” vibe with the range of shops there. I’m not a snob but there’s a definite “put up with your lot” vibe about the street. Having said that – I love Armley! Town Street is quite an enigma. I’m sure a revamp would help.”

Andy Parnham added:

“We need to attract new residents with spending power into the Town Street area, and make it much more friendly to both pedestrians and new businesses. A rebuild of the section between the St George’s Crypt Cafe and Armley Library (on both sides) would be my dream, with top quality flats above new shops & services, and a calmed traffic zone.”

Jane Whiteley used Rothwell as an example of good practice. She added:

“I would like it pedestrianised….similar to Rothwell. I fear the travel routes around it might not support the traffic not being allowed down there. Rothwell has coped though.”

Chantel Richardson agreed:

“If I was to put money into Town Street I would stop the traffic from coming down and up on the main street and put some nice grassy areas and benches, as at the moment there is nothing of beauty.”

Kimberley Lynch added:

“They should turn it into a shopping centre, knock it all down from The Royal to the charity shop to the units behind the bank as they’re rarely in use.”

Lou Cunningham added:

“Regardless of whether the funding is approved, in the background there are some volunteer groups, Armley Action Team, festival team and Town Street team working on some exciting projects and ventures for Town Street and beyond. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved.”

The bid has been welcomed by local politicians.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves MP said:

“The Government has not yet chosen which bids will be considered and there’s a bit of a process to go through once they do, but I am confident that this is a step in the right direction for Armley.

“It’s really positive to see Leeds City Council prioritise Armley in this way and I do hope the Government recognise the impact extra funding could have on our area.”

Councillor Alice Smart (Labour, Armley) said:

“The Armley councillors are hopeful that this funding will help us to revitalise Armley Town Street and ensure that everyone in our community feels safe and welcome on their local high street. If any local residents have ideas about what they’d like this money to be spent on, then we encourage them to get in touch.”

A report detailing the key proposals for Armley Town Street will go before Leeds City Council’s Executive Board next week. Once approved, the initial bid will be submitted to government by March 22, with more detailed plans to follow this summer and a final business case by spring 2020.

What would you like to see happen in the area if Armley was to get the money? Have your say in the comments section below.

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s fretwell says:

kimberly lynch. you don,t want it making into a shopping centre, look what happened to Bramley. ALL the old buildings knocked down, built a shopping centre which is a hub for crime (from what i have heard )unsafe to go in the evenings.no character. basically the council ruined Bramley town street

Joanne St Lawrence says:

I stopped shopping on Town Street because of the street drinking, antisocial behaviour and when the Co-op and Superdrug closed down. If the anti-social behaviour is stopped and we could get a good local supermarket like ASDA or Morrisons I would be very happy to come back. I was born in Armley and have shopped on Town Street since I was in a pram, I remember getting my first decimal coins in the Tesco when my daughter was in her pram! I would like to see parking facilities improved so it is possible to take a trolley back to my car as I can’t carry heavy bags. I would love a shoe shop again, you can’t beat being able to try the shoes on. Our local MP said recently that you can’t buy a paper on Town Street but there are sixteen shops selling high strength vodka – I think that says it all!

Martyn Cheney says:

Pedestrianisation would be the worse thing for armley

It’s hard enough trying to get into Leeds in the morning.rush hour with all the traffic coming through town street to avoid the 2+ and that will only get worse when it’s.changed in to a bus lane.

My guess is that the poster drives and doesn’t use public transport. Which is bad enough with been forced to miss out massive chunks of armley out.

We’ve just lost our bus link to kirkstall. We can’t loose any more.

The centre needs a rebuild it’s no longer fit.for.purpose. There is spare.land on theaker lane and where the western bingo was. But whatever happens there needs to be restrictions on the planning permissions.given. There are too.many off licences and bookies on townstreet as it is.

Lou Cunningham is right there is some good work going on but again they take over town street and leave parts of armely cut off from public transport. Why close town street when we have a.large.number of green spaces in the area. Utilise them