A councillor has launched a campaign to clean up the underside of a landmark bridge along one of Leeds’s busiest gateways, amid claims the “absolutely filthy” conditions are shaming the city.
Councillor Liz Nash, who represents the City and Hunslet ward on Leeds City Council, is furious at the graffiti and grime-ridden state of the ‘Dark Arches’ bridge on Swinegate.
The bridge is owned and maintained by Network Rail, but councillor Nash claims the firm has neglected the site for years - and has been reluctant to let the council take over responsibility for it.
In a letter to the company, she slammed the “disgusting state of the underside of this bridge across Swinegate which is, supposedly, white tiles to reflect the light”.
“The tiles are absolutely filthy as they have not been washed for years,” she writes “Swinegate is part of the city loop and a main entry to the city centre. What a poor introduction for visitors to our lovely city.”
Speaking to the YEP, Coun Nash added: “It creates a very bad impression for people of the city, and it’s not very nice for residents.
“Most people who travel to Leeds come through here, it’s a main thoroughfare.
“Network Rail says it’s not a safety issue and they are not going to do anything about it.
“All it needs really is a jet wash to make the tiles white again, but there are also doorways off the loop and they are absolutely filthy. It’s a disgrace.”
She said that with a recent focus on regeneration and productivity, such an eyesore in a landmark spot presented a “terrible impression” of a city with global ambitions.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, at this moment in time, we do not have funds available to clean the tiles on the bridge.
“As a taxpayer funded organisation, we have to prioritise work which poses a risk to the railway.
“Although perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing, dirty tiles do not interfere with the running of the railway.
“We would be delighted to work with third parties if they wanted to clean the bridge and would urge them to contact us so that we can arrange a safe way to carry out the work. We would also be happy to provide staff to supervise any work by a third party to clean the tiles.”