Headingley and Hyde Park Labour Party members have chosen to re-select Neil Walshaw as their candidate in Headingley and Hyde Park Ward. He will stand for re-election to Leeds City Council on May 2. Neil has been a Councillor for Headingley since 2011. He is a tireless campaigner on local issues, known for his warm personality and boundless energy.
Neil is passionate about combating climate change, achieving social justice, working with new sustainable technologies and especially about housing.
He was recently instrumental in Leeds City Council declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ as a response to the very real threat which man made climate change poses to our species and all life on Earth.
As Chair of the North and East Plans Panel he has helped deliver almost 1000 affordable homes across East Leeds and is part of the team delivering Leeds Labour’s Council house building programme. 3000 more homes are planned by 2022. He is a keen supporter of using new designs and materials in housing to provide the low cost affordable homes Leeds needs and sees getting empty homes back in to use as a key part of meeting those needs.
An urban and transport planner before he was a Councillor Neil believes spaces to play and relax in are essential for people. Alongside his fellow Cllrs Jonathan Pryor and Al Garthwaite, he has developed plans for new and improved play and relaxation green spaces across Headingley and Hyde Park. Work on the exciting new Royal Park Gardens and the new park on Hartley Avenue will start in the summer of 2019.
During his time as a Councillor Neil was worked to keep our PCSOs on the street and our Children’s Centre open. He sees enabling our community to have more control over its future as a vital part of his role and has been instrumental in setting up two Neighbourhood Forums: one in Hyde Park and one in Headingley.
An achievement that will always mean a lot to Neil is having been instrumental in having a Club night that was using sexual violence in promotional video closed down in 2014. Neil instigated the licensing hearing by the Council and appeared at it as a witness alongside student activists. He still takes an absolute no tolerance approach to sexual violence, misogyny and works alongside his Ward colleagues, Al and Jonathan to promote gender equality.
Neil moved to Leeds in 1999 and lives near Kirkstall Abbey with his wife Hazel and their three boys.
In his own words.
“These are difficult times for a lot of people. It’s really important that people have hard working local representatives fighting their corner. That’s what I have always tried to do for everyone in Headingley, Hyde Park and Woodhouse.
“At Full Council in March we declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ and rightly so. Climate change threatens everything we value – our civilisation, our planet and all the life on it. We have to become better caretakers of this world for the sake of all our futures. I will work tirelessly to make sure all of Leeds City Council’s policies and programmes help our city do its bit to reduce the impact of climate change”.
“We need national leadership that will decarbonise the electricity grid and enact a radical programme of building insulation and energy conservation. The technology of air travel needs completely changing. Fundamentally we need a Green New Deal for the people of this country with good jobs in these new industries and programmes that equip our society for this most difficult of centuries. There is no climate justice without economic justice because everything really is interconnected”.
“In my role as a Plans Chair I think about housing a lot. My starting point is ‘is everyone safe and warm tonight’ swiftly followed by ‘we need to achieve that whilst preserving our greenspaces’. In my view those two objectives have to be achieved together if we are going to have the City we want to leave to our children. We have managed to deliver a lot of affordable housing across Leeds but we want to do so much more. Government must allow Councils to invest more in housing. I will continue to shout about Councils being allowed to build the homes we need as that’s so important for our future. I have always believed housing is a right.
“When the club night video using sexual violence as promotional tool was brought to my attention I was shocked by the content. It was wrong and offensive. It’s fair to say the Council and Police were keen to help with a Licensing hearing and I must pay tribute to the student activists who campaigned with me and gave evidence at the hearing. I said at the time that this was also a warning to other promoters and venues not to cross the line of using sexual violence and none have. Taking action was the right thing to do.
“As your Councillor I have worked hard to improve the refuse system, our recycling levels and our street cleansing, to keep PCSOs and Police on the streets, to keep the library and the Post Office open, to improve our air quality, to bring empty homes back into use, and to work towards Headingley having a more sustainable economy.
We must all think about how we can do out bit to help reduce climate change because fundamentally everything is interconnected”.