Words: John Baron
A £5 million fund to boost district centres across the city is set to have its budget cut by more than half – with future schemes earmarked for West Leeds having their funding cut.
Members of Leeds City Council’s executive board will meet next week to discuss the future of the council’s local centres programme, which essentially created a £150,000 per ward scheme across the city to support a public realm improvements, and boost local communities as centres of economic, social and leisure activity.
Councillors will hear a £150,000 scheme to improve on‐street parking, and provide pedestrian crossing points and bus stops on Rodley Town Street is one of only four to have been delivered in full so far.
A council report says that the COVID-19 Pandemic has delayed progress on the programme, alongside pressures on the council’s budget which has led to a £119 million deficit.
The council is now looking to spend £2.3m on schemes across the city. The report states:
“Members will be aware of the unprecedented financial pressures faced by the Council as a result of the Covid pandemic, and the need to identify spending reductions across a wide range of Council activities and budgets in response to this.
“This pressure has also applied to the capital programme and further to the Executive Board request to review the scale of the Local Centres Programme and related work to local centres, this report proposes a level of meaningful savings … while also maintaining an allocation of funds to every ward in the city.”
Projects in West Leeds proposed to progress include:
Bramley: Shopping parade forecourt improvements at Summerfield Parade and Ganners Hill. Proposed cost: £100,000, to come from Housing Revenue Account Scheme, not local centres funding.
Armley: Detailed scheme to be developed further to support Armley Town Street which serves one of the Council’s Priority Neighbourhoods. Reduced ward allocation to generate saving. Proposed cost: £75,000.
Bramley: Forecourt improvements to shopping parade at Upper Town Street. Scheme developed to outline stage based on contribution from adjoining private owners. Reduced ward allocation to generate saving. Proposed cost: £50,000 from local centres funding, £10,000 from private owners.
Kirkstall, Farnley & Wortley and Pudsey Wards are proposed to receive £30,000 in funding. No money has been allocated to Calverley & Farsley ward.
There’s no mention of the previously announced £76,000 New Wortley ‘Gateway’ scheme to introduce green space and public realm enhancements to the corner of Green Lane and Tong Road.
The council report can be read here, under item 14.
WLD is tracking council cuts and building sell-offs through its Cutswatch Series here.