Save Our Beeston

At Tuesday night’s “Save our Beeston” residents meeting which was also attended by Angela Gabriel and Adam Ogilvie, Bill Birch read out the latest letter submitted to the Planning Department to bring everyone in attendance up to speed on where we are with our objections.

Ice Pak Barkly Road 2Angela and Adam then confirmed that they along with their colleagues David Congreve and Hillary Benn were upholding the “Save our Beeston” objection and would be making their decision unequivocally clear to the Planning Committee in the near future and that based on their view the traffic would cause a massive problem that would be unacceptable to the residents of Beeston.

The councillors were also mindful of Aspiring Communities being economical with the truth about the information submitted with the planning application being not for a “Community Centre” but for The National Masjid (Mosque) for the Sufi Naqshbandi Branch of Islam which in the words of Uthman Nawaz would bring many thousands of followers to Beeston on a weekly basis.

At this stage it is hoped that the Planning Department will reject the application as being inappropriate and untruthful and that Aspiring Communities withdraw their determination to build something that the vast majority of residents in Beeston do not need or want. There was a 96% objection to the Application. The 4% supporting the application contained spurious addresses and even addresses that were not actually theirs but were the addresses of genuine people that had lodged objections.

However, it was felt that The Non Islamic members of The Aspiring Communities Steering Committee were not party to the deceit displayed by Aspiring Communities and acted in good faith if displaying a little naïveté in the process.


This post was written by Colin Hendrick Ward using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.

47 Replies to “Save Our Beeston”

    1. It was written by someone at the meeting on Tuesday.
      Jeremy from south Leeds life was invited to the meeting but couldn’t attend.

  1. Yes, it was written by SOB. It is evident from it’s tone, and act of separating the “good non-islamics” from the “evil-islamics”.

    It looks like SOB are on their way to acheiving their goal, which I agree with, and they should celebrate this. But instead they have tarnished their accomplishments by their persistence in stating such inflammatory opinions. They are eager to point out they are not racist, but this post – which is clearly NOT the work of South Leeds Life, makes a mockery of this insistence.

    1. “good non-islamics”,“evil-islamics”
      I don’t see these words used in the article….

      However, I think I may understand your concern about the last paragraph of the report.
      I was at the meeting and there was a brief discussion about why influential members of the community have been supportive of the development despite the overwhelming opposition from residents and evidence of what the motivations for the development were. Comments were made that Aspiring Communities had sought the support of these people in order to add legitimacy to their proposals.
      I think the last paragraph is worded very awkwardly, but don’t agree that this is evidence that the people involved in SOB are racist as you claim. Neither do I understand why you are insistent in making such claims.

    2. Dear Independent Woman,

      I am not sure what pipe you have been smoking this morning. I have been reading quite a bit of what has been posted by SOB and not seen anything you have claimed too have witnessed. I would love you to teach me your magical ways of observation of seeing things in a warped sense that are not there. Either you are eating them magic mushrooms again which I sure wish you would stop doing. Or you have some kind of personal vendetta against them, maybe it is Beeston as a whole you hate? Did this post get edited or something? as you are laying claim to sentences that are not there, or is everything you read deemed as racist like the overly politically correct person you are making yourself out to be?

      Sincerely a concerned independent man.

  2. We at SOB have fought against this planning application due to the fact that traffic would be horrendous , especially on a Friday . We have done research to fight our cause and we keep bringing up reasons for why this shouldn’t be allowed . Thats why our 3 local councillors and our MP Hillary Benn have come out to say that they are totally against this development due to the lies from AC and the huge traffic problems that this development would bring .

  3. Having read the comments above, can I make it clear that I am objecting to the revised planning application on traffic grounds, as I did previously. There has been a lack of clarity about the number of people who would be using the site, and it seems to me that the potential amount of traffic would be very considerable and therefore a real problem for the residents of the area given the site’s location.

    Hilary Benn
    Labour Candidate for Leeds Central

    1. The lack of clarity is due to Aspiring Communities telling residents that the development will be for the local community to use for various sporting and social activities, whilst at the same time raising funds within their own community by espousing the development as a religious centre to which thousands would travel every week.
      Two very different proposals that some would consider quite incompatible.

      Any credibility that Aspiring Communities had with local residents is now surely lost. Its a real shame they could not have been fully open about what the real drivers were for the development from the start. By trying to promote the development as something for the benefit of the local community, all they have done is discredit themselves with many local residents and actually driven communities apart instead of bringing them together.

  4. I find it interesting that the Labour councillors have decided to oppose this proposal on traffic grounds, so close to the election – which commences when postal ballots are issued before the end of this month.

    It’s interesting that they sat on their hands for several months, at the initial meeting at St Mary’s Church they said absolutely nothing, and continued to do so until now.

    It smacks of blatant electioneering, and if people fall for this, it would be a very sorry scenario.

    Anyone with any knowledge about planning, construction and traffic knew it was a completely unsuitable location for such a site, but they chose now to ‘support’ the residents – something they ought to have been doing for months, no doubt they feel their feet burning having been held to the fire.

  5. Firstly thank you to Colin for an honest report on what was a large part of the discussion at the meeting on Tuesday. I think there was also quite a bit about the cleanliness of the area, especially the amount of packages left on the pavements by man’s best friend…..

    I totally agree with rich’s clarification as to how the discussion about how Aspiring communities have acted and behaved.

    Independent woman, if you wish to call this behaviour evil then that is your right but please do not put words into other people’s mouths. Personally I would call it dishonest, inflammatory and not what I expect from a charity that has integration as one of it’s core themes.

    To say one thing to the local community and then something completely different to their supporters and primary users of the centre is never a good approach for cohesion.

    Our councillors and MP have agreed that parking and traffic are the primary planning reasons for objecting to this proposal. I also take that as they believe that this centre is what save our beeston have described it, attracting many cars from outside the area and not as aspiring communities have described it as a place for people within walking distance.

    It would be nice for a little clarification from the Steering Group members of Aspiring communities as to what they were told?

  6. Can the writer clarify precisely where and to whom it has been stated that the proposed community centre is intended to become the “National Masjid (Mosque) for the Sufi Naqshbandi Branch of Islam”? Where can I find the statement attributed to Uthman Nawaz that it would “would bring many thousands of followers to Beeston on a weekly basis.”? Thank you.

    1. Hi Lily , please feel free to join our Save our Beeston FB page . All your queries are on there plus many other local issues .

  7. I’ve tried in vain to find the ‘Sufi Naqshbandi Branch of Islam’ evidence SOB talk about. It would be helpful if it was set out in an SLL article, or specific links posted in this comments section.

  8. It’s far too nice a day to be trawling through SOBs Facebook page.

    Worth bearing in mind that lots of people don’t use Facebook.

    A link would be appreciated, but up to you.

  9. Hello to all,

    I have decided to offer some thoughts to this discussion with the intention of commenting on the various aspects of the matter re SOB and ACs. I am a member of TUSC – (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition) and because of Austerity I am a candidate for Leeds Central Ward in the General Election.

    I lived in Beeston both above and below the park from 1961 until 1998 and for personal reasons I moved to LS7 and I visit Beeston regularly to see my friends, attend the dentist and Beeston festival in Cross Flatts Park every summer. I attended St Anthony’s school then after my 11plus exam attended Corpus Christie RC Comprehensive in Halton. My children attended St Anthony’s also. I have since studied at the Poly (now Beckett’s Uni) and worked all over Leeds including Beeston and several other areas. I do come to this matter lately and have read several comments about it all and in this respect my thoughts are as follows:


    Cars and delivery vehicles are a problem for the whole of society and this I think is because we do not treat public transport and cycling and pedestrians with the priority they deserve. Part of my campaign is to push for a greener economy with a preference for transportation of goods and travel in general by a publicly owned and managed railway system. That said I think that opposing this centre on the grounds of traffic is somewhat problematic. For example the area has many pubs, clubs, shops, businesses, schools and supermarkets. On Sunday evening last I walked down Cross Flatts Grove to get the bus on Dewsbury Road and the noise of people, music and cars around The Broadway was very noticeable. Pubs and clubs and shops and businesses bring traffic and people and noise. These are all in residential areas. I remember a lot of traffic on Sundays and other Holy days around St Anthony’s Church for example and everybody lived with it. Every street and road in the area has cars and general traffic. It has got me thinking about where I live now – Chapeltown. Here we have: Mandela Centre, West Indian Centre, Sikh Temple, several mosques, several churches, The Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Community Centres, schools, businesses, workplaces, supermarkets, shops etc. Traffic just like Beeston is everywhere in every street and every road. During the year many different festivals and events take place this brings traffic and thousands of people and also brings road closures to assist the events. Our annual Carnival lasts all weekend bringing people, traffic, road closures and litter and we live with it. I am British and not religious and I thoroughly enjoy all the different cultures around me. I enjoy learning about many different traditions etc. So the point I am making is that this particular proposed development may not realistically be opposed because of traffic concerns. There was a factory there for decades. Beeston is not a village but a district of the City of Leeds. I trust that the planners will look at this from the point of planning per se. Traffic calming measures can be put in place of course.

    Religion and Culture:

    Of these there are many all over the world including here in Britain and here in Leeds and in Beeston. I am not religious myself (tho raised in Catholicism) and I have no problem whatsoever with people believing in God, having faith, practicing traditions and festivals etc. I believe that these can all take place alongside each other everywhere. I know that Islam is a faith of peace and charity every Muslim must do charitable acts for all aspects of humanity. Muslims see Jesus as a prophet and respect him as they respect Abraham et al. In my societal role I have visited many mosques, churches, temples and synagogues and have been treated with respect (as a woman) always and I do not mind removing my shoes where required). Sikh Temples for example welcome anybody at anytime to eat when hungry. I mention these thoughts because many comments seem to be concerned that this proposed development is really a mosque, really an Islamic centre, to these concerns I say “so what?” Those who do not wish to hear about Islam do not have to attend. There are concerns about separate entrances based on gender when I go to a swimming pool at a sports centre (those that are left!) I prefer separate facilities when showering and changing. If women within Islam do not want separation generally then it is for them to express and organise for change. Many religions approach men and women and their roles in this way. For example in a Catholic Church women must cover their heads where men do not. Women are nuns and men are priests etc. I find it is better to accept everyone and not to single out one group for criticism when one may not have all the facts at hand.

    Community and facilities and housing:

    We have all lost many of these due to cuts to Local Authority budgets. So where groups are willing to provide them this can only be a good thing. I do believe that this proposal is intended to be open to all who may wish to utilise it. I don’t think it is reasonable to claim that pubs are community facilities (even tho in some instances they may well be) as many people do not feel comfortable around alchohol and those who may have had too much to drink etc. This is not a feeling exclusive to muslims but does apply to many people. We have lost schools and houses and sports centres under successive governments because of a privatisation agenda. So whilst the “site” may well be ideal for housing (which would also bring traffic) I have no knowledge that any developer has proposed building houses there. As Local Authorities cannot provide council houses any longer since the Thatcher government’s Right to Buy policy, we have all experienced the massive loss of social permanent housing for all who need it. My campaign will involve a massive council house building programme on brownfield sites and to take into Local Authority ownership the hundreds of thousands of empty homes owned by banks and landlords who refuse to house people and families. Privatisation is the real threat to democracy because it places into private hands our public resources from parks, to housing to our beloved and treasured National Health Service. Massive profits are made through this agenda and wealth is then concentrated within a tiny minority of powerful and wealthy people and the majority are left with very little for us in the majority to work with and further it results in low wages, insecure employment, zero-hours employment, insecure tenancies in the over-priced private housing sector and thus tremendous difficulties for individuals and families when they try to plan for their lives and futures. The same is happening in our education system from schools through to universities.


    I hope that we can all be united in our communities rather than divided. To me that means acceptance of all regardless of faith and or culture.. .. May I say that I will not be commenting on this particular matter too much as I am busy in many aspects of life. I hope what I have written here spells out clearly what I think without need for too much further comment. I do not access the internet/computer too often due to personal circumstances. I understand that South Leeds Life will be contacting all candidates for comment and that they will be published by South Leeds Life.

    Sincerely, in peace and solidarity,

    Liz Kitching.

    1. Liz Kitching,

      Have you looked at the location of people opposed to people who support the project. It has nothing to do what is being built there but more to do with the scale of the project so close to a school. That is why 90% of the “LOCAL” people residents are objecting. So are you saying TUSC are not going to be going with what the local community wants because currently this is what it sounds like.

    2. Hi Liz.
      The save our Beeston campaign has always been about making the Beeston village area a better place to live for its residents.
      It would seem that you have many other consideration’s which then make you think its OK to impose the Barkley Rd development on the local resident’s.
      Because of this, you certainly won’t be getting my vote.

  10. Hi Liz – it’s good to see you posting on here, by all means join the Save our Beeston group, where views from candidates are welcomed, though not soliciting votes, it has to be said.

    You don’t have to be a current resident to join, as someone who lived in the area for a long time you’d be more than welcome.

  11. I should say that my comments and views are not because of my TUSC membership and standing in the ward for the election they are my own views as an individual. I thought I would say who I am in addition to my comments on the matter.

  12. My remarks are not intended to ask for your votes, they are intended to contribute to the discussion. What can possibly be wrong with a social facility? Beeston is not a village, it is an area of the City of Leeds. If I lived in that very vicinity I think I would be vocal in supporting it. Now that the local politicians and the MP have backed the opposition we will have to wait and see what happens. I won’t be responding to every single comment on here but will do my best to discuss.

    1. Also….
      Why can Holbeck be an urban village, but Beeston can’t?
      And why do I go to the “Beeston village surgery” when I need to see a GP.
      You may not be concerned in any way about my vote, but your comments here will also disenfranchise you from a couple of thousand Beeston residents..

  13. Hi yes there may be a couple of thousand people objecting but what about the 600 LOCAL people who are in SUPPORT? Do they not have a say and why should they be ignored? Come on lets get real thousands objected to the asda petrol station on old lane where I live but now that it has been approved no one seems to be interested! The couple of thousand people who objected to the Asda proposal seem to have forgotten about their objections but a handful of the same individuals seem to be still striving to have the Aspiring Communities project stopped! Mmmhh…. i do wonder why???

    1. Hi Yaz.
      Not sure how many people objected to the Asda petrol station. I suspect it wasn’t that many as the petrol station was a late addition after the previous plans had been approved.
      You need to speak with Leeds city council planning and our local councillors about that.

  14. Hi Yaz – I have spent a fair bit of time in the last few months talking to people in Beeston about various matters…. and I’ve met literally nobody who is in favour of the Aspiring Communities proposal.

    These include white people, and also those from Sikh, Muslim and Hindu communities.

    One primary reason for there being so much opposition is the blatant dishonesty of AC when it comes to the nature of this development. People don’t like being lied to.

    Hence why there is such vocal opposition to the petrol station at the Asda on Old Lane, and also the signage – when the original proposals submitted by Asda didn’t include either, to my knowledge.

    As for ‘a handful of objections’ to AC, there were two thousand objections – basically half of the people who voted in Beeston ward last year. Not an insignificant number.

    One thing I must add – I’m not opposing this development for political reasons, I’m aware that doing so could be viewed as doing so for the purpose of soliciting votes – but I was present at the initial meeting at St. Mary’s church last autumn, and have attended most of the residents meetings since, purely to observe and listen.

    I oppose this because it’s the fundamentally wrong location for a development of this nature, I have family members and friends of all ages who live in the vicinity.

    A national centre for any organisation should be built in a location with suitable access and egress. Not in an already over-developed area with three primary schools on the doorstep.

  15. Hi There was quite a significant number of objections for the asda petrol station on the planning portal.

    National centre??? I dont think this is a national centre because there is one national annual event which is held at John Charles Centre and as far as I know that will continue to be held there as the proposed development is not big enough. You talk about dishonesty from AC but I don’t think that is the case. I remember the grand scale project which has now been massively reduced in size and have listened to the concerns of the locals. Now having made all the changes they still face all this opposition which I believe is unfair. Do the 600 plus LOCAL SUPPORT have not right? Everyone has the right to voice their opinions and I remember correctly at the meeting in St Marys anyone who spoke in favour was frowned upon and questioned ‘are you with them or us’? I hold quite a balanced view being a local resident and truly believe that AC will deliver what they are promising and if they dont i will be the first to opppose them! 300/400 Local people attending does not make it a national centre and nowadays council can put conditions on the use of the building for example that the sports hall be used for only sports and for nothing else. Im not an expert but am sure there are other similar conditions the council can set out as well. Also in regard to safety and school being close by I dont even believe their Friday busy time period even clashes with the school time. Someone mentioned to me that AC would allow the parents to use the car park in the morning and after school to park their cars. Surely this would be more safe as it would decrease the.parking from the road and side streets?

  16. There is a mosque being built nearly completed now just off lodge lane, it has the same issues regarding parking, as in there is none, yet no one seems to object to this

  17. Hi Dave, completely agree with you and completely ridiculous how there is no parking! Aspiring communities project has ample parking for an open access community centre encompassing community, sports, health and faith…. so why all the fuss?

    1. Would you care to tell me where the community room is going to be Yaz and also why will the so called sports hall be closed at prayer times .

  18. Hi S Sturman

    From the plans it looks like the sports hall and community hall is the same one and this has come about due to the reduction of the entire scheme. If I remember correctly previously there was a separate large community space and the sports hall was separate. The previous objections were due to the huge size and floor space which has considerably been reduced and yet at the same time there is a still a community space available. This space is the sports hall and surely would be available to book/hire and be used when there is no sports going on in the hall. Why it is closed during prayer time as I can see it is closed during Friday prayers which is the busiest time and this is must be to control the numbers. However, I would prefer that the sports hall remain open during Friday prayers as this would eliminate the chance of any overspill of worshippers into the sports hall as I know this is a concern of some of the local objectors as well as my own concern. Im sure if the council put a condition and monitored it regularly then this would be ok. When they are in breach of their conditions and fail to deliver their promises, I will make my feelings pretty clear. At the moment myself and my family along with many other friends want this facilty and also have a right to worship as well as socialise being local residents.

  19. Yaz .. we dont want a mosque in barkly road ,,simple as that ..
    Will you please stop living in the fantasy land of this being for the community …this is a mosque for use by the muslim faith .
    If you want to pray ,then please by all means use the 4 other mosques on the other side of the park .

    1. Dave – not sure who you refer to as “we” in this statement, but as someone who has opposed the development at the Ice Pak site it certainly doesn’t include me…
      My opposition, to the development has always been based on the fact that the proposal is of such scale and design that its intention was to bring large numbers of people into a residential area who live elsewhere. In doing so it would have a seriously detrimental impact on the quality of life of residents who live nearby. These are the views shared by the vast majority of other people I have spoken with.
      Your statement here comes over as extremely small minded and divisive.
      One of the key issues experienced in opposing this development has been dealing with the accusations of racism and xenophobia that are so easy to make against people who oppose the scheme even though they don’t have any such intentions. Your comment does nothing but hinder the legitimate efforts of the people who have worked so hard to oppose this development.

      1. Sorry you dont feel part of the we … however you want to state it Rich you reasons are exactly the same as mine.I just call a spade a spade , sorry if you dont like that ,,but thats the way i am

  20. Dave

    I dont live on fantasy land as I am a local resident and have been for many years. Time will tell if this is only for the Muslim faith or not! In my opinion its a great project and needs to be accepted just like the Asda petrol station has been!

  21. How can you have a so called “state of the art” sports facility changed into a community room overnight Yaz ?? Cloud cuckoo land springs to mind . SOB are totally against this pathetic attempt to justify this proposal as a community centre .

  22. SOB were totally against the asda project and as Luke as rightly stated it had 1500 objections and now that it has been approved and been given the go ahead, the fuss has disappeared!!!! Come on SOB treat all projects with a fair and balanced view!!! The sports facility will have mobile equipment, like most sports centres. I know that John Charles sports centre (“state of the art”) during school exams have had children taking their exams in the same sports hall, with tables and chairs! Come on we need to be reasonable and at least give the guys a chance!

    1. Yaz “Come on and give the guys a chance ” . Once its built its built . We need to put some desperately needed housing on there . Also Aspiring Communities have been given 28 days notice to sort out the disgusting state they have left the old Passmores site 150 yds down the road which they have also bought . This charity in my opinion doesn’t care about the local community . No more comments from me, AC are a total joke of a charity .

  23. What about the 600 local residents that have made it known that they support the plans! Do they not have a say and why can’t they have the facility!!!

    Rich your ideas and views don’t represent the views of the 600 people who support the project. Why won’t you mention the support this proposal has got which is ALL LOCAL!!!!

    I just can’t believe the insults hurled towards people and towards the people of a particular faith. Having spoken to many different people who have spoken in support of the project, have felt threatened and it seems like SOB doesn’t want to listen to anyone if they don’t share their views.

    It seems like the social media postings are starting to get out of hand, now picking out individuals to try and get them to withdraw from the AC steering group.

    As a result of this, in my opinion and the opinion of others I have spoken to, its now getting close to causing harassment, alarm and distress.

    Many people won’t post anything online now as they feel that they are being targeted by (Save Our Beeston) SOB and as a result no longer wish to use the online format to discuss the application. Any further postings which cause offence, will be reported officially to the Police for them to investigate.

    1. Hi Yaz. See the post above from “Dave” and my response. I have no time for what could be considered discriminatory remarks made about any group, hence my response above…

      Yes! – of course I appreciate there are local people who have made it known that they support what Aspiring Communities are proposing. I have looked through the support and objection comments posted on the council planning site and one thing became painfully obvious – the almost total polarization of opinion between people with “white British” names objecting to the proposal and those with “Asian” names supporting it…
      When Zeb Ahmed first came to Beeston to discuss the proposals all that time ago, one of the key goals he defined for the project was bringing people together from different backgrounds, cultures and faiths to improve understanding, tolerance and integration – all principled causes that I can support.
      But what has actually happened? As the letters of objection, letters of support, posts on here and social media testify, an issue of conflict and division has been opened up that didn’t previously exist!

      A totally regrettable (and should have been avoidable) situation!

  24. Exactly Yaz, this is why I am concerned having read the personal attacks and unpleasant comments. It is sounding like bullying. I just can’t see why a community facility should cause such a problem for some people.

  25. Hi Yaz – thanks for your comment.

    In respect of the Asda, the reason why many of the Beeston residents chose to support Asda as opposed to Tesco is because that they stated within their initial proposals that they had no intention of building a petrol station as part of the new development.

    Following the granting of approval, they then decided to make an application to build a station, and despite the objections of 1500 people, approval was granted. Residents have every right to feel aggrieved that the planning department has gone against such strong public opinion, and also upset that Asda lied about writing to local residents to discuss various things – my mother lives on Old Lane and ought to have been one of the people receiving a letter. She is still waiting.

    In terms of AC, the people I’ve met thus far have seemed like great people – some of them attended the Q &amp A session which I took part in along with Hilary, Adam and Robert – and I understand that they want to get involved with local matters, feeling that they can make a positive contribution, which of course should be welcomed.

    However – this does not eliminate the fact that the Barkly Road site is entirely the wrong location for a facility that will be busiest at 3pm on a Friday. Three primary schools in the immediate vicinity, and also on a road which people use as short cuts to get to the motorway – which ever end of Beeston they are looking to access it from.

    If AC are serious about wanting to make a positive contribution towards the Beeston community – for starters they could sell the Ice Pak site with a view to it being developed for housing – sheltered, social or affordable (not fussed which, the area is short of all three) and tidy up the eyesore that is Passmore’s, further down Barkly Road.

    Each time they are asked to sort something out, they do, to their credit, but within absolutely no time it’s like a bomb site again, which is unacceptable.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what I think about the development, what should happen is the proposal go to a public vote, with the outcome being binding. If people don’t want this to go ahead, they shouldn’t have to have it. Simple as that.

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