I thought it was a timely moment to update you on some of the work Cllr Neil Walshaw and I have been undertaking with the community around Sparrow Park in Headingley.

Jonathan Pryor, Labour's candidate for May 2014, with Janette and Neil
Jonathan Pryor, Labour’s candidate for May 2014, with Janette and Neil

For those unfamiliar, Sparrow Park is a triangular shaped green space that is bordered by Chapel Lane, Spring Road and Cardigan Road. The site has fallen into disrepair with fence panels stolen, coping stones knocked off and litter and debris strewn across the site. The site is overgrown and self-seeded trees dominate. It appears that the site has not been maintained for many years except for a small group of local volunteers- Sparrow Park Action Group ( SPAG).

The city council do not own the site. Over the last 2 years guided by SPAG, Neil and I – with the help of Leeds City Council’s Parks & Countryside Service and Planning Services – have carried out land searches on the site which reveal that the land is not registered. Local enquiries and an article in the local newspaper have not revealed any firm avenues of investigation. A plaque adjacent to the entrance to Sparrow Park states that the site was improved by West Yorkshire County Council in 1975 with the support of South Headingley Neighbourhood Association but no further information is known.

A public consultation and initial feasibility study was carried out in 2008. The community identified that they wanted a scheme to improve the green space and create a focal point for the community to use. The Cardigan Triangle Community Association (CTCA) was involved in the preparation of some initial design work and consultation. Following this SPAG subsequently reconstituted and Sparrow Park Ltd was formed in 2013 and have taken over from CTCA in that role.

A decision was taken in Sept 2012 that Leeds City Council would pursue a Compulsory Purchase Order [CPO] and draw up a scheme to improve the park. This would be funded from S106 developer contributions, Area Committee Well-Being budgets and Planning Services Budgets. The CPO to the Secretary of State has now been applied for and a resolution is expected in May 2014.

Subject to a successful CPO, the scheme of works will see the site cleared of self-seeded trees and a footpath, benches and a litter bin will be installed at a cost of £15,000. Sparrow Park Ltd will then enter into a Partnership Agreement for the park with the Parks & Countryside Service of Leeds City Council. The will help the service manage the park and actively promote the site locally for educational and recreational purposes.

This is exactly the kind of facilitating role Neil and I believe is of huge importance to the area and we are delighted we have been able to get some serious and significant movement, supporting the community, in this great green-space initiative.

Janette

Cllr Walker, Labour, Headingley Ward

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