Plans to redevelop a former south Leeds golf course into a park and Covid-19 memorial woodland are set to go before the public this week.
It follows an announcement by Leeds City Council last month that it wanted to redevelop 48 hectares of land located on the former South Leeds Golf Course site into brand new park and wildlife-space.
The council says it could include a “five kilometre activity zone”, walking trails adjacent to Middleton Park, and even new cycle trails. A Covid-19 Memorial Woodland, which will pay tribute to those Leeds residents and front-line workers who lost their lives due to Covid-19, would be the site’s centrepiece.
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The woodland would be created in partnership with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust’s Hospitals Charity.
The scheme has not been without its critics – with one senior councillor having previously questioned the logic of spending money opening new parkland so close to Middleton Park, when there are other wards around Leeds lacking in quality green space.
The council says it will hold three drop-in events in south Leeds:
- Saturday August 7, 11am-3pm at Middleton Park Visitor Centre
- Saturday August 14, from 11am-3pm at Leeds Urban Bike Park
- Monday August 16, from 4pm-6.30pm at Leeds Urban Bike Park and lower South Leeds Golf Course site
Coun Salma Arif (Lab), Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles said: “We’ve worked hard to ensure that the initial proposals we’ve put forward for the former South Leeds Golf Course site offer something that is positive and meaningful to visitors in an environment that will also offer a range of green benefits.
“Also included and a major part of the project is the proposal for a new memorial woodland where loved ones can gather, reflect and remember those who have sadly died due to Covid-19.
“We really want to hear what the people of Leeds think, which is why we have arranged a number of drop-in events from this weekend. The thoughts of residents are extremely important to us and anyone contributing can be assured every comment will be considered carefully before any final decisions are made.”
Speaking at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s Executive Board on June 25, Leeds Liberal Democrats group leader Coun Stewart Golton criticised the scheme.
He added: “What I object to is that the council is committing a very substantial amount of money to what is effectively a tree-planting scheme in a place that has really top quality parkland.
“Middleton Park is an exemplar recreational space for people. This is an exercise in the council acquiring land to plant trees.
“This is at a time when the council has community parks that are having to suffer cutbacks.
“I question the prominence of the memorial woodland in the presentation of this item – it is pre-supposing what the people of Leeds would like to see as their Covid memorial.
“I would suggest it would be somewhere a little bit more central.”
It is hoped work can start on the new woodland later this year, for an opening in February 2022.
Anyone unable to attend the events can also make their views known via an online survey here
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