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Elida Gibbs Playing Fields listed as asset of community value

Playing fields in Burley have been listed as assets of community value in a bid to preserve them, council documents have confirmed.

Elida Gibbs Playing Fields, on Stanmore Street, has been listed as an asset of community value, following a nomination from Leeds Hyde Park Football Club, which is an unincorporated group. 

The Elida Gibbs playing fields are currently used as full sized football pitches by nominator, Leeds Hyde Park Football Club.

A council report said: “The nominator advises that these playing fields are the only site within the immediate locality that offer full-sized football pitches for the use of their teams.

“These teams have proven very popular, with interest growing significantly over the last year, and it is anticipated that this membership will increase further over the next few years, generating more subscription fees and further income for the club, bolstering its viability, and that of the use of the site, in the long-term.

“The nominator advises that should the use of the Elida Gibbs playing fields become unavailable as a sporting facility for the local community, there would be no alternative site in the local area with the same facilities that would be able to be used by the club.

“This would be insensitive to the social interest needs and capabilities of the local community who use the site, some of which would be unable to travel the distance to and from this site. The club also acts as a crucial part of integrating new arrivals into the community.”

The report adds that the Elida Gibbs playing fields are also used regularly by other members of the local community for informal leisure activities and dog walking.

“As such, the designation of the site as an Asset of Community Value would serve to protect the social wellbeing of the members of the local community that currently use it,” it adds.

Parts of the ground are regularly used by Leeds Rhinos fans for parking.

The council’s report can be read in full here.

According to Kirkstall.net, the sports pitches off Stanmore Terrace in Burley were acquired by the Council around 1983 though a land swap promoted by the Kirkstall councillors and engineered by George Mudie when he was council leader.

The ground originally belonged to Taylors Drug Company, whose original premises can still be seen on Burley Road nearby. In 1935 this firm became the retail chemists Timothy Whites and Taylors. They were subsequently taken over by Boots, and finished as part of the Elida Gibbs toothpaste and cosmetics conglomerate, which is now part of Unilever.

There is a local myth that the name marks some bequest or trust, but these were ordinary commercial transactions. Elida Gibbs were moving to Seacroft and tried to sell their sports ground in Burley for house building. They were persuaded to pass it to the council, but acquired another council site in exchange.

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