February 9, 2011
Filed under: Cycle Track — Bill @ 6:49 pm
Councillor Adam Ogilvie - Executive Board Member for Leisure
The Highways Department has plans to make the existing cycle track on Woodhouse Moor, part of the Route 5 cycle track running from Cookridge to the city centre. If the scheme goes ahead, it will mean cyclists crossing the Moor at the rate of one every thirty seconds between 7.30 and 9.30am (according to figures published by the Leeds Cycling Action Group). Woodhouse Moor is already the most intensively used park in the city. To add to the existing park users, all those cyclists from the outer suburbs travelling to the city centre, is to create a serious health and safety issue on the park.
Councillor Adam Ogilivie is the Executive Board member with responsibility for Woodhouse Moor. Here is what he had to say earlier today about the plan to run Route 5 across the Moor:
This scheme is a very bad idea as it would make the park unsafe for pedestrians. Consequently, Parks and Countryside have written to the Highways Department asking for the scheme to be withdrawn. We have yet to receive a response. I’m grateful to local residents for alerting Parks and Countryside to the existence of this scheme.
February 5, 2011
Filed under: Cycle Track — Bill @ 2:13 pm
The Highways Department is planning on creating a cycle super highway to be known as ‘Route 5′ that will run from Cookridge to the city centre via Leeds University. Cyclists heading into town will be directed onto the existing Woodhouse Moor cycle track via a new toucan crossing to be constructed across Hyde Park Road at its junction with Brudenell Road.
The new cycle highway will take all the cycle traffic that currently runs along Headingley Lane and Woodhouse Lane, and divert it across Woodhouse Moor. According to figures released in October 2008 by the Leeds Cycling Action Group, this will mean that during the morning peak between 7.30 and 9.30am, there will be cycles crossing the Moor at the rate of one every thirty seconds.
This massive increase in cycle traffic on the park will lead to congestion and bottlenecks in the area of the park around the Wellington statue, with pedestrians and cyclists competing for space on paths that were only designed to carry pedestrians. To relieve the congestion, Highways are planning on creating several new paths in the area of park around the statue.
PROPOSED NEW TARMAC PATHS
These paths are unnecessary for the functioning of the park and are being provided as a cheap alternative to providing a cycle track along Hyde Park Road and Clarendon Road. They would be incongruous with the original path layout installed in the 1870s and make it extremely difficult to have the park added to English Heritage’s ‘Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England’. The scheme would also make it far more difficult to obtain lottery funding to restore the park.
FAILURE TO CONSULT
A report outlining the scheme was presented to Leeds City Council’s Executive Board on 14 October 2009. The report gave no details of proposed routes and claimed at paragraph 3.2.1 that :
Initial consultation on the project proposals was undertaken during June 2009. Ward members and community groups were informed by letter which included the project leaflet and links to more detailed plans placed on the internet.
In fact, there was no consultation with any of the community groups in the Hyde Park area. But on the strength of this report, Highways were given approval to proceed with the scheme and awarded £1.5 million. This is the second time in recent years that Highways have claimed there has been consultation when there has been none. In 2008, they wrongly claimed they had consulted local community groups about their proposal to widen the A660 where it crosses Woodhouse Moor.
The proposed Route 5 would run along Brudenell Road and connect to Woodhouse Moor by means of a toucan crossing to be constructed across Hyde Park Road at its junction with Brudenell Road. The intention is to locate the crossing in front of a block of flats called Kensington Court.
Kensington Court and roadworks to create a toucan crossing
The first the residents of Kensington Court knew about the proposed crossing was when construction work began before Christmas. Alarmed that they would be kept awake through the night by beeping from the crossing, they contacted their ward councillor, and he arranged for a halt in construction. Even though the crossing would greatly impact on their quality of life, none of the residents of Kensington Court had been consulted about the proposal to instal it. Nor had they been consulted about the proposed Route 5 cycle track.
A HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUE
Highways chose the route of Route 5 at least as far back as 2009 when the situation on local roads was very different from what it is now. The introduction of residents only parking schemes on other roads in the area has meant that roads intended to form part of Route 5 are now double parked from Monday to Friday by workers from the suburbs who park their cars on these roads and then walk to work.
Cars double parked on Brudenell Road reduce traffic to a single lane
The problem of cars parked along the proposed Route 5 has specific health and safety consequences for cyclists:
- Double parking on Brudenell Road with the danger this poses for cyclists.
- The fact that motorists now park on the cycle track on Welton Road increases the dangers for cyclists on this contraflow cycle track where they have to ride against oncoming traffic.
According to figures produced by Parks and Countryside, Woodhouse Moor is the most intensively used park in Leeds. Pedestrians and cyclists already compete for space on paths.
To avoid pedestrians, cyclists often have to ride on the grass, creating broad swathes of mud in the process.
Given the intensity of use of this park, to divert all the cyclists from the northern suburbs onto it, is to invite a serious accident.
December 25, 2009
Filed under: General — Bill @ 11:41 am
I met Dave and Ellie on the Moor yesterday. It had been snowing and they’d just finished building a snowman. I reckon it’s the best snowman I’ve ever seen.
December 13, 2009
Filed under: History — Bill @ 8:54 am
(photo courtesy of The Thoresby Society)
Ordnance survey maps give the name “Cannon Walk” to the path that runs from the Victoria Memorial to the former Grammar School. The reason for the name is supplied by “The Official Handbook to The Public Parks of Leeds and Kirkstall Abbey” written by Parks Superintendent Arthur J Allsop and published in 1906 :
From Woodhouse Lane to the Grammar School there is a pleasant path along the top of the Moor, banked on the left by a shrubbery in which there are circular bays of grass for the sheltered accommodation of flower beds. In the centre, one of these bays is ornamented by two 36-pounders of the old smooth-bore muzzle-loading type, mounted on ship’s carriages. These are relics of the fall of Sebastopol, and now look over their crenelated parapet in eloquent silence. When they were publicly placed on the Moor in 1857 no less than 50,000 persons were present.
The above photo shows the cannon isolated behind the “crenelated parapet”. In this position, the guns were neglected, and over time, their carriages fell into disrepair. This prompted a concerned resident to write to the Yorkshire Evening Post. His letter was published on 21st October 1911 :
PATHETIC PLEA FROM WOODHOUSE
Sir, – We the cannons on Woodhouse Moor, have fallen on sad and bitter days. We are neglected and forgotten. Will someone help us, or does nobody care ?
How different from the days of long ago, when we were proudly glistening in the sunshine and guarding the fort of distant Sebastopol; we didn’t stand on the wet sod and have a coat of dirty drab paint then !
Now we are placed behind a monstrosity in stonework. Goodness knows what it represents. Surely it is not a feeble imitation of a fort ? For years we have stood on the damp earth, and the woodwork of our carriages has become rotten and fallen to pieces, causing one of us to fall to the ground, the other having to be propped up under the muzzle.
In our early days on the Moor, we were proudly admired – a powder waggon, long since gone, stood in the centre then – and looked upon as grand relics of British valour. Do let us be moved from this horrid position, given suitable carriages, and placed on a basement of concrete or flags on the level – Yours etc.,
THE RUSSIAN GUNS
The plea from “the guns” was heard, and the guns were moved, as the following article from the Yorkshire Evening Post of the 28th December 1911 describes:
NEW CARRIAGES AND A NEW POSITION FOR OLD RELICS
A fresh resting place has been found for the two old Russian cannon on Woodhouse Moor, Leeds. For many years they occupied a site close to the reservoir, but in consequence of the continued exposure to the weather the wooden carriages became completely rotten, and recently, the cannon had to be taken down.
In this out of the way spot they went unnoticed, so the Parks Committee decided to place them in a more prominent position when the new carriages were ready.
The site chosen is in the middle of the wide walk at the main entrance near the police-station, a circular flower-bed having been cleared, and the ground concreted. The hoisting of the historic relics into position has been watched with curious interest by large crowds these last two days.
The large iron shell removed from Templenewsam some few years ago has also been placed on this spot.
The photo below shows the guns in their new location. They remained in this position until they were taken away to be melted down as part of the war effort.
Filed under: LCC — Bill @ 8:36 am
When Leeds University purchased the former Grammar School site, it’s clear it did so with the intention of building on the cricket field that formed part of the site. The fact that the cricket field had Protected Playing Pitch status in the Unitary Development Plan, was only a temporary obstacle. To get round the problem, they offered the council a bribe. They said that in exchange for planning permission, they’d give the council £255,000 to spend on replacement sports facilities on Woodhouse Moor. These were to include two mini soccer pitches and a Multi Use Games Area or MUGA on the site of the tennis courts near Hyde Park Corner. The council held all the cards. It just had to say no. Instead, in exchange for a paltry £255,000, the council agreed to the university’s proposals. And so the community lost the Protected Playing Pitch and in return gained the threat of formal sports facilities on the open parkland of Woodhouse Moor. All of this was agreed without any consultation with local people.
Friends of Woodhouse Moor raised the issue at a meeting of INWAC that took place on the 13th December 2007. In response, the councillors passed the following resolution :
That in respect of the multi use games area proposed close to Hyde Park Corner, North West Area Management be requested to seek clarification on the proposals, and to ensure that public consultation was carried out on any such proposal
Following the meeting, Lib Dem Councillor Penny Ewens was in touch with senior planning officer Paul Gough by telephone. Here’s an extract from an email he sent her immediately afterwards :
Further to our telephone conversation, I thought I would drop you a line to let you know my thoughts on the suggestion that the proposed MUGA should be subject to further public consultation. Basically my view is that further consultation is unnecessary and would delay what is a very worthwhile project on a site which is in need of upgrading….I think that if we start a debate on the principle of the development it could seriously embarrass the Council, mislead the local community and get us into a legal minefield. If we do not carry out this project, all it would take is one person to make a legal challenge and we would be in trouble….There is no need to prevaricate over this and, in my view, we should proceed to the implementation stage.
I hope this is helpful advice.
Mr Gough says that there’s no need for “further public consultation”. The fact is that there’s been no public consultation. And so, despite the promise that was made to local people by Lib Dem councillors in December 2007, construction work on the MUGA (pictures below) began a few days ago.
INWAC minutes 13.12.07
Paul Gough’s email 29.2.08
December 12, 2009
Filed under: LCC — Bill @ 8:32 pm
Should you ever take a walk round the German Market – I won’t say “German Christmas Market” since it’s packed up and gone long before Christmas has even begun – spare a thought for the long suffering people of Hyde Park and Woodhouse. They are the unsung heroes of the German Market. You see, for two months of every year, part of Woodhouse Moor is turned into a container park to house the freight containers and cranes that are required to bring the market here and then erect it. (see photo below)
We’ve Councillor John Procter from Wetherby and ineffective Lib Dem local councillors to thank for this annual addition to the Moor. Any other city would arrange for the unsightly containers to be stored in a council yard. Only Leeds City Council would dump them on a park in a deprived inner city area where they can be viewed by the retired residents of the Harrison Potter Home and everyone who passes by on Woodhouse Lane.
Filed under: LCC,Leeds University — Bill @ 7:47 pm
At a recent meeting of the Scrutiny Board, Councillor John Procter, the Conservative councillor from Wetherby who’s in charge of Parks and Countryside, declared that Woodhouse Moor is a wonderful resource for Leeds University. The truth of his words were borne out for me this morning when I saw a large truck with a trailer parked completely blocking one of the park’s paths. The trailer had been used to sell food and drink to people who’d been participating in the “Hyde Park” Time Trials, a weekly running event organised by Leeds University. Even though it’s annoying to see such blatant disregard for other park users, it has to be said that Councillor Procter and the university are inflicting far worse trials than this on Woodhouse Moor.
Filed under: Leeds University — Bill @ 7:05 pm
The above photo was taken in late October and is looking east from Monument Moor. It shows the trees in front of the university’s St Mark’s flats. The photo below was taken this morning and shows the same view immediately after workmen had cut the trees down. If you look closely, you can see their vehicles and equipment. The noise their equipment was making could be heard from the main part of the Moor. I felt sorry for anyone in the flats who was trying to study or rest, and for the retired residents of the Harrison Potter Home. Leeds University is definitely not a considerate neighbour.
The university recently presented a proposal to replace St Mark’s flats with a larger complex of flats. So the question’s got to be, “Why cut the trees down now?” Could it be that the university regards the grant of planning permission as a foregone conclusion ? If the university does get planning permission, then heaven help this part of Woodhouse, for what they propose is truly awful.
Filed under: LCC — Bill @ 5:54 pm
This extensive area of tarmac may look like the start of a dual carriageway, but is actually the result of work carried out recently on Woodhouse Moor by Parks and Countryside. The path on the left of the photo has been added to provide a more convenient route for people using the park as a shortcut. Apparently, Parks and Countryside has forgotten that Woodhouse Moor is a park, not a shortcut. Its avenues were laid out in the 1870s not to provide the quickest route from A to B, but to provide pleasant strolls. Why should that carefully worked out layout be destroyed now for the sake of people who just use the park as a convenient short cut. If people are spoiling the grass by cutting across it, then far better to to plant bushes to deter them, or restore the low wire hoop fencing that used to edge all the paths on the Moor.
Parks and Countryside are crazy to be using their limited resources in this way, building unnecessary new paths which spoil the park’s appearance, especially when there are existing paths which need attention, like the badly rutted example pictured below.
November 29, 2009
« Previous Page
Filed under: ASB,Byelaws,General,LCC — Bill @ 6:17 pm
These photographs were taken in late Spring 2009 and are evidence of the anti social behaviour that takes place regularly on Woodhouse Moor. How can Leeds City Council allow such behaviour when at page 27 of its Vision for Leeds 2004 to 2020, it claims :
Making Leeds Europe’s cleanest and greenest city is an important principle for our Vision and we will launch a project to improve pride in the city. The project will:
- draw together the actions of many organisations and businesses in Leeds to reduce litter, wastefulness and pollution;
- promote individual rights and responsibilities to tackle these problems;
- challenge those who create problems for others to solve;
- create a zero-tolerance culture – the council and the Environment Agency will work together to reduce litter, abandoned cars, graffiti, stray dogs and dog fouling;
- encourage big public-sector organisations like the council, universities, health service and private businesses to reduce waste, limit pollution and use natural resources much more efficiently; and
- improve the quality of and access to our local parks and green spaces.
— Next Page »