Greenside Greenway chairman to step down after seven years

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Greenside greenway Pudsey
Best foot forward: Members of the Greenside Greenway group in Pudsey

By community reporter

Dr Andrew Jarosz, chairman of the Greenside Greenway Group, is planning to stand down at the group’s annual general meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, 14 May), after chairing the organisation for seven years.

Andrew was one of five founding members in 2017 who campaigned to stop both partial and full infilling of the former railway cutting at Station Road which threatened to block and obstruct the Greenside Tunnel in Pudsey.

The full infill application attracted over 360 objections from individuals and groups, and was eventually turned down – partly by the strength of the objections, and partly because it contravened a lot of Leeds Council’s own core planning strategies.

The group then raised over £10,000 to commission a study on the true costs of keeping the tunnel open and reinstating the track bed to Bradford, concluding that for as little as £4m the route could be upgraded to a Cycling Greenway also available to walkers, disabled vehicles and horses.

Plans are still ongoing to raise more finance for a study on the remainder of the line being linked to the cycle ‘super highway’ between Bradford and Leeds. In 2022 the project gained charitable status, which requires trustees to serve no more than three years before stepping down.

“I am taking the opportunity to stand down a year early, to deal with personal pressing health problems which need to be sorted now,” Dr Jarosz said.

“The committee is full of amazing people who have so much to do, that there is always a shortage of volunteers, as well as people with specific specialities such as fundraising, legal knowledge, publicity, and organising events.

“I started this crusade way back in 2001, when there was a proposal by Ogdens to fill the cutting and tunnel, and I led local objectors at a public inquiry in 2002. Because I live above the tunnel I’m anxious that it is repurposed as a public amenity, keeps us all safe, and reflects the rich heritage aspects of Pudsey.”

Dr Jarosz is no stranger to active campaigning. After being elected to West Yorkshire County Council in 1981, he was appointed to the Tong-Cockersdale Countryside Management Committee, which was run jointly between Leeds and Bradford Council. When the chairman John Senior lost his council seat, Andrew was appointed chairman until 1986.

In 1982, he became the West Yorkshire representative on the Save the Settle to Carlisle Line Campaign. This morphed into the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line after the line was saved from closure in 1989, aided in a great part by debunking of British Rail’s estimated costs of repairing the Ribblehead Viaduct.

“I would urge as many local people as possible to come along to the AGM and sign up to helping as much as they can,” he said “This is such a worthwhile project to maintain Pudsey’s heritage, and adding back something precious to the community.”

The meeting will be held at 7.30pm, upstairs at the Royal Hotel, on Station Road.                

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