Holbeck starts to map its future

Holbeck residents turned put in force last night to start mapping out a future plan on how Holbeck will be developed.

Holbeck residents went on a walkabout around their community to help for the plan.

The meeting, at Holbeck Working Men’s Club, set up a new neighbourhood forum for the area.

The forum will help steer the Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan, which will help decide how the area should be developed in coming years and provide a framework for other issues of community interest and concern. The plan is being put together by Holbeck residents in conjunction with Leeds council.

Holbeck is one of the first inner-city areas in the country to prepare a government-funded neighbourhood plan, and the meeting is the latest in a succession of community events to move the plan forward.

People who attended will contribute their particular skills to help run the forum, which has a budget of £20,000.

Interim chairman Dennis Kitchen said:

“We’re here to try and make Holbeck a better place to live.

“This plan is partly about buildings and how we want Holbeck to be developed in the future. But mainly it’s about people and society and bringing them together.”

The meeting heard last month’s walkabout around Holbeck – which saw local residents look around the community for areas they liked and disliked and identified improtant buildings and open spaces – came back with some interesting results.

Tony Ray, from charity Planning Aid, said good aspects fed back from residents on the walk included:

Good things:

  • The variety of people living in the community
  • The rich historical background and relics of Holbeck
  • Holbeck Moor
  • St Matthew’s Community Centre
  • Wildflower meadows (pictured above)
  • Quality of some of the terraced housing and integration with new housing

Bad things:

  • Disused industrial sites and old mills
  • The Matthew Murray School site
  • Lack of shops and services on Domestic Street
  • Spotted Cow Pub site
  • Flytipping
  • Poor maintenance of the area and some industrial sites
  • Poor integration  with Holbeck Urban Village – developments there have ‘turned their back’ on old Holbeck
  • Poor connections to the city centre

As well as forming the forum, attendees were asked to add their expertise to different task groups and decide on a boundary for the plan which will include both residential and industrial Holbeck.

Beeston and Holbeck councillor David Congreve said that ‘exciting times’ lay ahead for Holbeck and paid tribute to Dennis Kitchen’s chairing of the meeting. Councillors Angela Gabriel and Mohammed Iqbal were also in attendance.

The next meeting of the forum will be on Monday, December 10, in Holbeck Workign Men’s Club at 6.30pm.