Civic Trust slams council's Leeds city centre prospectus

'The city centre vision conference last January was an inspiring event and as a result there were a lot of enthusiastic people looking forward to creative discussion about the future of Leeds City Centre.

The Trust urged the city council not to let that opportunity for creative dialogue slip, and in our discussions with businesses and professions in the city it was clear that people were brimming over with ideas.

It was a real surprise that, after all this time, the city council has produced this City Centre Prospectus without any prior discussion with its partners in this process, and without anybody else contributing to it.

As a result the Prospectus is uninspiring and under-ambitious.

We agree with most of the suggestions it makes, many of which did come out of the conference, but many are existing council projects and activities and the 'What are we going to do?' sections are unspecific and generalised.

Unfortunately, the document gives the impression that the council will continue its incremental approach, and end up doing a little bit here and little bit there to improve the city centre as and when it can.

This vision needs to offer a step change in thinking.

The council's excellent and ambitious decision on the Leeds Arena demonstrates it can act boldly in addressing the longer-term needs of the city.

The discussion of the future of the city centre also needs to be far-sighted, ambitious and innovative.

We need to be looking 20 to 25 years ahead and try to anticipate how economic, social and climatic factors will alter the situation in which we live so that we can plan ahead for the best quality of life.

The City Centre Prospectus is not sufficiently visionary and does not provide a sufficient basis for this coherent and imaginative planning.

It is very disappointing that the council does not feel it can trust others to contribute to what should be an open discussion with those who live in, work in and make use of the city centre.'

Dr Kevin Grady,

Director,

Leeds Civic Trust

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