I recently had the opportunity through South Leeds Life’s Community Reporter course to sit down with Councillor Adam Ogilvie to discuss local issues. As my only knowledge of Adam was a name on the newly placed dustbins of Cottingley, it was a good opportunity to find out more about Council plans for the area.
We briefly covered Adam’s history in Leeds and what motivated him with regards to local politics. Having a degree in regeneration and economics as well as being a member of various Labour groups, it seems being a councillor was a natural progression. We also discussed the changes to welfare reform and how that could potentially impact on our part of Leeds.
My main concern was for the issues of Cottingley and what would be done to clean up the estate and stop it being seen as a forgotten part of Leeds. First on the agenda were the windows. Every home under tenancy should be getting new UPVC windows as part of the “Decency Standard” but as yet this has not been completed. Speculation at the interview has potential completion dates of the next few years’ right up until 2028! Adam did not believe that it would take that long however he has pledged to email Aire Valley Homes to discuss what is still to be done and how long it will take. He will also obtain a “definitive list” of tenants, whose homes still need work doing, feeding back his results to constituents when he can.
With the formation of TRAC (The residents association for Cottingley) on the estate, improvements are slowly beginning to take place, but we discussed the ability to get this message out to tenants. Not everyone has access to online services so how do you get the message out to them? While Adam admitted past communications have been poor he and other councillors are aiming to improve this with a newsletter that will cover all the important issues and what is to be done about them.
Other issues being tackled, according to Adam, are the problems with refuse collection (or lack of as is often the case) and why Cottingley have yet to join the rest of the Leeds with green and black wheelie bins (too many steps and the way the estate has been designed), a youth forum for the young people on the estate to have a say and take ownership of where they live and the improvements to it. There will be funding made available to aid this. A meeting to take this forward will be scheduled shortly.
One of the final things mentioned regarding Cottingley was the recent addition of a new estate litter picker whose sole role is to look after the estate. However with this will come stronger enforcement for those not abiding by fly-tipping laws and dumping waste on the surrounding green land.
It was a very informative meeting and worth the opportunity to get some answers to local problems from someone who will play a big part in the future changes of where we live.
This article was written by Kirsty White using our Community Reporters website