Improvements set to start to Hunslet’s ‘public square’

Work is set to start on the first phase of improvements to the area outside the Hunslet Community Hub and Library off Church Street to create a ‘public square’.

Existing planters will be renovated and restocked to green the area, new lighting will be installed to make the space more welcoming and safer after dark and new concrete seating will be installed.

Following public consultation, a new mural will be painted on three sections of the the long brick wall that runs behind the Penny Hill Centre. The mural will be created by art students from the University Centre at Leeds City College, with the involvement of local residents. It’s hoped the mural will soften this imposing structure which runs along one side of the space.

It is hoped that the improvements, which follow the refurbishment of Hunslet Library in 2019, will encourage more positive activities to take place in the space such as markets or other public outdoor events.

Funding of £184,300 has been allocated for this work. The bulk of this, £150,000, comes from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, a government funding stream delegated to local authorities. This has been topped up with £14,378 from the Local Centres Programme and £20,000 from the Community Infrastructure Levy, paid by developers of new buildings within the ward.

The project is due to be completed by the end of March 2024.

Commenting on the plans, Cllrs Paul Wray and Mohammed Iqbal (Labour, Hunslet & Riverside) said:

“Delivery of improvements to the public space outside Hunslet Community Hub and Library has been a long-time commitment of both of us and our former colleague Alderwoman Elizabeth Nash.

“We have persistently and doggedly pushed this project forward since 2019 as we believe strongly in the need for a high quality central public space for the people of Hunslet – a place to meet, greet, and be a community together.

“There have been ups and downs along the way over many years as government cuts have hit the council hard, but our commitment to deliver this project has never wavered because we deliver what we promise.

“But this is the first stage of a long-term project, and we will be working with council officers and partners to secure additional funding to deliver a second phase of improvements to this public space as quickly as we can.

“So, while we are pleased to be delivering new seating, lighting, greenspace, and other features in this phase of work – there is so much more to come.”

Cllr Ed Carlisle (Green, Hunslet & Riverside) added:

“Many thanks to all who participated in the community consultation on this: the project was shaped by local input. And the improved space will create new opportunities for Hunslet – but it will depend on all of us making use of it, for events, sport and activities, markets, art, or just hanging out. Get in touch if you’ve ideas for things you’d like to see there, especially if you’re able to get involved – thanks.”

 

This post was ammended on 6 February 2024

 

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