At the meeting of Leeds City Council today, Alex Sobel,Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Leeds North West, spoke out about proposals for the development of Holt Park Centre.BQMakucCcAA8dYq-1

He welcomed the suggestions for older people’s housing, general housing – and the protection of Greenspace – all contained within the proposals.
He regretted the failure of the previous Tory/LibDem administration in Leeds to update the Centre, a failure compounded by cuts from that same Coalition at Westminster.
But he looked forward now to the future Holt Park as a good example of how civic enterprise can work for local communities.
He stressed the need for local businesses and entrepreneurs to be given full opportunities in the redeveloped Centre.
And he gave his strong support to a real process of public consultation in which the local community will be fully involved in influencing their own future.

The full text of his speech is below.

“I think all members of the council will agree that the Holt Park Centre is an important facility serving the communities across North Leeds and the updating of the Centre and development of new opportunities is long overdue, with the centre which I often visit in a poor condition.
It’s a shame that when council budgets were satisfactory under the last Labour government the Council’s then ruling coalition could not have brought this scheme forward much sooner and that it took a sole Labour administration to bring the scheme forward, maybe this is evidence of coalitions running administrations whether locally or nationally.

As Holt Park Active nears completion, it is now important to
look forward to a better district centre that helps the community
become fitter healthier and happier. The Holt Park Active
scheme is one which takes a whole person approach in the
community which I am hugely enthusiastic about.

The planning statement covers the district centre of Holt
Park including the site of the previous leisure centre and
school. Much of the site is owned by Leeds City Council and
provides a great opportunity to show how civic enterprise
operates in local communities.

The suggested uses include older people’s housing, general
housing,retail and greenspace. All much needed by the
community.

Older people’s housing is much needed in the area,
especially due to a failed attempt to create extra care
housing in 2010. This failed due to the withdrawal of funds
by the Coalition government as part of its comprehensive
spending review. Holt Park has suffered hugely and it is this
administration that has had the courage to invest now and in
the future in Holt Park.

I am pleased that potential developers will be required to
consider the Council’s ten urban design principles which
includes community engagement, quality design,
sustainable solutions and improving the existing identity of
an area.

In terms of the retail offer, residents have spoken to me about a
broader retail offer with the opportunity for local entrepreneurs
starting businesses in a redeveloped centre and I hope to see
this in the new planning statement after local consultation.

I also welcome the fact that Greenspace is indicated as
fundamentally important to the new Centre. The draft planning
statement shows how green public areas can replace the 70s
concrete-dominated areas which currently exist at the site.
Having public space where people can talk, play and relax
without commercial pressures is the strongest way to bring
communities together and enrich people’s experience of their
neighbourhood.

Following approval by Executive Board, the draft planning
statement will be taken to public consultation in September and
I hope we can all work with the local community to ensure the
best scheme for all those that use Holt Park.”

[Check against delivery]

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