Meeting debates Armley Moor closure for new tower block heating system

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By John Baron

A public meeting has debated plans to dig up parts of Armley Moor to allow the installation of innovative ground source heat pump systems in neighbouring tower blocks.

As previously reported by WLD, Leeds City Council is looking to revamp the heating in Burnsall Court, Gardens, Croft and Grange by providing new low-carbon heating and hot water systems which are better for the environment and cheaper for tenants to run. 

The meeting, at Whingate Methodist Church, was called by the Armley Common Right Trust. The trust acts as the guardian of the land on behalf of the people of Armley.

A plan of the works on Armley Moor.

Contractors Cenergist said that the Moor will be used for access and storage during the works, which could start at the end of August and run until December/January. Work was due to start three months ago but had been delayed due to legal issues.

Boreholes would be dug 160m down to help create the heat pumps, but Cenergist stressed that the moor would be returned to its present state afterwards, with the only noticeable changes being extra man hole covers.

The meeting heard that the annual Armley Festival will be unable to use the moor for its annual event in early September due to the work. Organisers are hoping to negotiate work being slightly delayed to allow them to use the moor – but contractors warned this could cause delays.

There was some criticism of Armley Common Right Trust for the lack of communication with the wider community over the work.

Questions were also raised for the contractors and trustees to take away regarding ‘much-loved’ Fudge the horse, and his grazing arrangements. 

The contractors also said the Trust can put together a wish list of improvements as recompense for the lack of access to the moor – but no financial amount or decisions on the wish list have been finalised.

Trust chair David Boutle said he’s drawn up a list of seven things he would like to see but the meeting agreed that the process should be opened up to the community to have their say in the coming weeks.

Some members of the meeting also pressed whether the common right trust has ‘the principal of voice’ and overall decision over the works, or if the power sat with Leeds City Council. It was agreed to hold another meeting with council representatives.

Flashback: Armley hanging basket day in 2015.

Meeting leads to Trust ‘re-birth’

There was enthusiasm from the meeting, which was attended by more than 20 people, to breathe new life into the Armley Common Right Trust.

Mr Boutle said that popularity on some off the Trust’s activities in the six pieces of land it runs had begin to tail off ahead of the pandemic, and that Covid had meant the trust was no longer meeting or running activities.

It was agreed the trust would hold a formal meeting, with the potential of new trustees joining. All meetings will be better publicised, both on and offline, in future.

The Trust is arranging a general morning of action and discussion at Charlie Cake Park on Sunday, 7 August from 11am-1pm. All welcome.

Several members remarked about it being the ‘re-birth’ or ‘renaissance’ of the volunteer-led organisation.

The Trust protects six pieces of land in Armley, including Hill Top, Charlie Cake Park, Moor Top (at the junction of Town Street and Wortley Road), Armley Moor, Far Fold (over Theaker Lane from the Moor) and Ley Lane (beyond Mistress Lane).

The Trust’s Facebook page can be found here.

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