Arts chief: ‘Clean up Leeds’s streets’

CLEAN SWEEP: John Dawson at work on the pavements outside Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane, Leeds.

CLEAN SWEEP: John Dawson at work on the pavements outside Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane, Leeds.

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Great architecture, bags of talent – shame about the grubby streets.

That’s the view of John Dawson, director of Arts @ Trinity in Leeds, who’s hoping his “observation” will help transform the city.

The former director of ICT at David Young Community Academy, Leeds, said until Yorkshire’s unofficial capital took action on its dirty pavements and litter-strewn streets, it would never be able to compete with cities on the Continent.

He said: “Leeds aspires to be a European city but, as such, fails miserably short because of the dirty pavements.

“Other cities wash their pedestrian ways frequently but I have not noticed this going on in Leeds for months if not longer.”

Arts @ Trinity is based at the Georgian Holy Trinity Church on Boar Lane, just next to the under-construction £350m Trinity Leeds Development and is undergoing a revamp as part of the project.

Mr Dawson said: “It seems to me we are going to have a really state-of-the-art retail development and fantastic looking church but grubby pavements that are never clean.

“I look up at the architecture and it’s fantastic but the streets just let it down.”

Mr Dawson said the issue had only come to his attention over the past six months since he has been based in the city centre.

Arts @ Trinity hosts a range of events, from concerts to exhibitions.

But Mr Dawson said the dirty streets could well deter audiences from supporting them.

However, he was keen to emphasise that his comments were more observation than complaint.

“It’s about the business community and Leeds City Council and a little bit of leadership to see how this can be solved and generate a bit of civic pride and make Leeds a really sparkling place to be.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We’ve made contact with Arts @ Trinity and we’ve had a really constructive discussion. Our street cleaning and enforcement manager will be contacting their director this week to discuss their observations and any additional work the council and organisations like Arts @ Trinity can do jointly to help keep Leeds city centre clean.”