by ALISON BELLAMY RESIDENTS of Chapeltown in Leeds are being urged to have their say on the future of their streets.
The inner-city area which is on the up after years of drug-induced crime and gun culture is soon to undergo a regeneration scheme.
Derelict sites along Chapeltown Road have been earmarked as problem areas and desperately in need of an overhaul.
Chapeltown was once the most prestigious area in Leeds to live where huge Victorian mansion-style houses were homes to wealthy mill owners.
Many of the homes became run down and converted into bed-sits, while residential streets have been used openly for drug deals and prostitution.
When the notorious Hayfield pub was closed in 2003 and later demolished, drug dealing edged onto the streets, but thanks to a combined effort by police and Leeds City Council, prostitutes have been moved on and a crackdown on drugs means crime rates are falling.
The public is being invited to the Host Media Centre on Sunday May 14 to have their say on proposals for the regeneration of the area.
The Savile Mount centre is hosting an open exhibition from 10am to 4pm.
On display will be models and plans for some of the vacant sites along Chapeltown Road, as well as ideas about the best way to boost the image of the area.
Leeds City Council has appointed three consultants – GVA Grimley, Bauman Lyons Architects and Andy Edwards Design – to work together to produce some ambitious but realistic ideas for the area, parts of which has suffered from neglect and under-investment over the last few decades.
Rory Barke, the council's area manager for North East Leeds, says it is now time for the authorities and local residents to work together to make a positive change to the area.
He said: "Chapeltown is such a vibrant, exciting place but some of the derelict and vacant sites along the main road really bring the area down.
"The consultants will produce a development plan designed to bring public and private investment into the Chapeltown Road corridor, and make a lasting improvement to the area.
"We have got high hopes for Chapeltown Road and May 14 is a great chance for local people to come and have their say."
The day will feature displays and models of proposed developments and a chance to talk with the council and their consultants. Host's caf bar will be open.
Designer Andy Edwards, a lecturer in graphic art and design, who is working on the regeneration scheme, said: "We believe that the architect's role is to combine the art of making with the art of making things happen.
"We also believe that most the important principle of long-term, sustainable architecture lies in harnessing best practice from international and national experience and combining it with the understanding of the local. The practice is committed to working with and contributing to the local community, and social and environmental sustainability."
After the open day at Host, there will be a chance to view the proposals in the Host caf from 9am to 4pm each day on the following week, May 15-19.
Irena Bauman from Bauman Lyons will also be speaking about the proposals at the Chapeltown Community Forum which takes place at 6.30pm on Thursday May 18 at the West Indian Centre.
Funding for the Development Plan has been provided by Yorkshire Forward, the Government's Regional Development Agency for Yorkshire, (35,633.75) and Leeds City Council's North East Leeds Area Committee (10,000).