A packed public meeting at The Tetley art gallery on Tuesday (18 February 2014) heard about plans for a Hunslet ‘Stray’.
Harrogate and York have Strays – areas of green space in the city centre and David Lumb from Leeds Sustainable Development Group (LSDG) admitted they had chosen a provocative name for the project in unfashionable Hunslet. The plan is to create a car-free link joining Leeds Bridge with the new Leeds City College campus following the original route of Hunslet Road through the brewery site.
The plans have been drawn up by LSDG who are keen to see the areas of Holbeck and Hunslet close to the city centre developed in a coherent way. The area has been variously called the Leeds South Bank and City Centre South and comprises the ex-industrial sites stretching from Kays in Holbeck and the Tower Works through Holbeck Urban Village, to the Yorkshire Chemicals, Braime and Hunslet Engines sites.
Development in this area is starting to take off. The Alf Cooke Printworks on Hunslet Road have been converted and extended to form the Printworks Campus of Leeds City College. Leeds College of Building have just started work on their new facility just across the road and the Ruth Gorse Academy has confirmed it will be building its high school on Black Bull Street. The Tetley art gallery is located in the former head office of the brewery and data infrastructure company AQL have taken over the Salem Chapel building.
LSDG are working with these and other developers to make the Stray a reality. AQL are offering the excess heat from their data centre to heat a winter garden along the route. Carlsberg, who own the land are supportive to allow access, but the group are keen for Leeds City Council to access grant funding to deliver the project. Local residents in the meeting suggested forming a friends group and making a start now using ‘guerrilla gardening’ tactics.