On the 6th August 2010, Parks and Countryside began work converting two of the bowling greens on Woodhouse Moor to a small football pitch. The work was the result of a proposal by Headingley and Hyde Park’s Councillor Jonathan Pryor, even though the bowling greens aren’t in his ward. Friends of Woodhouse Moor immediately protested that there had been no consultation, and works were halted as a result.
On the 14th August 2020, Parks and Countryside sent out consultation forms. These had to be returned by the 28th August. Representations to Little London and Woodhouse councillor Kayleigh Brooks, obtained an extension of the deadline by one week to Friday the 4th September. A further request was made to Councillor Brooks to extend the deadline by an additional three weeks, on the ground that the consultation was taking place during August and August Bank Holiday week, the two most popular holiday times of the year. The request was met with the response that it would require the agreement of six councillors, those of Headingley and Hyde Park ward, and those of Little London and Woodhouse ward. When it was pointed out to Councillor Brooks that the bowling greens are in her own ward, and therefore the agreement of just three councillors was required, she failed to respond.
A similar request for an extension was made to Parks and Countryside, and was ignored. A phone call to Little London and Woodhouse councillor Javaid Akhtar was met with the response that he was busy and would call the caller back. No such call has been received. Representations to Councillor Mohammed Rafique (Parks and Countryside), Councillor Lisa Mulherin (Environment), and Councillor Judith Blake (Leader of the council) were also ignored.
The Friends of Woodhouse Moor first learnt about the proposal in July 2019 and decided to oppose it, preferring instead to support committee member Sue Buckle’s suggestion that there should be a “flower labyrinth” on the site of the two former bowling greens.
The cost of converting the bowling greens to a football pitch has been estimated at £15k. The site will of course be used mostly by students.
Three years ago, Councillor Pryor promised the Friends that Cinder Moor would be returned to its original function as a sports field (it was levelled in 1884 to form a cricket pitch and in the 20th century was used for cricket and football until the council designated the site, along with others in Leeds, as a heliport, a purpose for which it was never used). If the bowling greens are converted to a football pitch, it is likely to become much more difficult to restore Cinder Moor as a sports field.