Kirkstall valley walk will help group plan for future


Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum is preparing a Neighbourhood Plan to give residents better control over development, and more influence over council spending. Forum secretary JOHN ILLINGWORTH previews the next meeting and a guided walk around Kirkstall Valley…

The next meeting of the Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum will be held on Wednesday 27 September in the New Burley Club, Burley Hill Drive LS4 2SZ, starting at 7.30pm.

By this stage the new Flood Relief Scheme will have been published for public consultation. I hope that we will seize this opportunity to improve recreational provision along the valley floor.

We have an overarching policy to keep new buildings away from the flood plain, and to concentrate development on the valley sides.

This means, in particular, the former “Tesco” site in the Kirkstall District Centre, which has now been mostly derelict for over ten years. It just feels longer!

Guided valley walk

Relatively few people are aware of the treasures hidden along the valley bottom below the Morrisons supermarket, so we are organising another guided walk next Sunday afternoon.

Our first walk last month proved very popular, and many people have asked about another, on a different day.

We will meet at the main entrance to Morrisons store, close to “Doddle” with a view to starting out at 1:30pm on Sunday, 10 September, walking along the river banks to St Ann’s Mill.

The mill was built in 1834, so it is pre-Victorian. I am trying to get keys to the mill so that people can see the inside with its fireproof brick arch ceilings, cast iron columns and stone flagged floors. It has been empty for the last 12 years, and we are trying to persuade the Council to transfer it to a community development project.

We will also see the weirs with their new(ish) fish passes and the remains of our Newcomen atmospheric engine. I bet you didn’t know that Kirkstall had one of those!

We will make our way to 649 Kirkstall Road and walk along the river bank to see our grade one agricultural land, and probably Kingfishers as well. Hardy souls can visit the cast iron remains of Benjamin Gott’s 1815 suspension bridge, which used to allow workers from Armley to cross the river to work at Burley Mills.

We should be back in two hours, walking at a leisurely pace. Children and pets are welcome, but please keep dogs on a lead. The present surface is not really suitable for wheelchairs or buggies, although the new footpath now under construction will allow wheels. There are toilets and parking at Morrisons, which is a good reason for meeting there.

Please bring your friends.



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