This is the first of a new monthly update from your Leeds City Councillors. For details of the three wards we cover and Councillors’ contact details please click here.
As 2020 draws to a close, as Councillors, we can reflect on the challenges the year has brought to individuals, businesses, and the public sector many rely on and most of use daily without thinking about.
As a nation, and as city, it has been reaffirmed how important key workers are how we live our lives- from shop assistants to posties, nurses to bus drivers, teachers to care worker, waste collectors and much more. With the vaccine starting to be rolled out, we all hope 2021 is more promising and positive.
But the pandemic has created a long shadow. For Leeds, the annual budget it spends on day-to-day things will fall by around 20%. This means over £100m. This will have an impact on all aspects of the Council’s services. As a Labour Council we have prioritised, and will continue to prioritise, spending for the most vulnerable in our city, in particular social care and children’s services.
This is the right thing to do. But this does have an impact on other services which now face a disproportionally larger hit if the Council is to balance the budget. We will work with the incredibly dedicated staff at the Council (who have worked tirelessly over 2020) to minimise how much it affects you as residents.
As we reflect on this situation we are deeply frustrated the Government has not supported Local Government in the way it should have, particularly after year-on-year reducing budgets for over a decade in the name of ‘austerity’. It had the opportunity in the Autumn Spending Review to support the vital work local authorities across the country do. They chose not to.
Despite this, we all remain resolutely positive and believe the fantastic communities in South Leeds will continue to thrive thanks to the many organisations and individuals who do so much for the area. We cannot even begin to list everyone, but you know who you are.
A Happy New Year to all.
Beeston and Holbeck Ward Councillors: Here as some recent activities and developments locally:
- The Meynell Approach new Council housing scheme has been approved and work will start in 2021.
- The Christmas Market at The Holbeck WMC, 0rganised by Slung Low, was a great success and attended by many local people – over 1000 people attended.
- We nominated the following for the Lord Mayor’s Third Sector award: Holbeck Together, South Leeds Live at Home MHA Scheme and Slung Low
- The Councils Woodland Creation programme has started to plant 2800 tree saplings on Beggars Hill as part of 40,000 being planted across Leeds this financial year.
- We gave approval for a legal Street Art Zone facing Beggars Hill.
There is still funding in our ward’s small grants budget for voluntary and charitable organisations for small projects. These grants are up to £500. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Hunslet and Riverside Ward Councillors: Thank you to the Council’s staff, third sector, and heath and emergency services who kept our city going. Thank you also to local residents who kept to the rules. Despite the pandemic, we continued to deliver on your priorities:
- On the climate and biodiversity crisis, we delivered more tree planting and enhancements such as bulb planting.
- On health, we invested in our local parks and playgrounds such as Church Street, and are expanding access to cycling and walking.
- We continued to protect your history, whether this is the renewed Bile Bean sign or progressing plans for Hunslet St Mary’s Spire future.
- We delivered road safety improvements, such as the Zebra crossing on Pepper Road. These are just a taster of a year of work.
As we move in to 2021 we will keep working for you locally, and look forward to when our communities can truly reopen.
Middleton Park Ward Councillors: Here is some of this years work:
- New housing delivered on Acre and Bodmin Road, and a proposal for 116 Council and 60 Extra Care houses elsewhere with retained greenspace and football pitch.
- Elements Primary School opened and plans to deliver a new High School agreed with Cockburn.
- Middleton Park to be extended and upgrades to the tennis and basketball courts agreed.
- New trees planted across the ward.
- Securing the Golf House to be offered for community ownership.
- New Gym provided at Middleton Sports Centre.
- Bus stop upgrades across the ward.
- New Community Centre for Cranmore and Raylands.
- New Community Space for DAZL Dance.
- Supporting Foodbanks St Cross Church and Manorfield Hall
- Progressing Green Corridors for the Westwoods and New Forest Village.
- Working with Middleton Urban Bike Park to create green corridors for cycling.
- Working with BITMO on the Digital Divide via the Neighbourhood Improvements Board.
- New public fencing installed across ward.
- New Benches and trees agreed for Old Run Road.
This post was written by the Councillors representing Beeston & Holbeck, Hunslet & Riverside and Middleton Park wards.