They caused so much outrage on their installation in 2009 that a public inquiry was launched into the infamous ‘gates of Cross Gates’.
But exactly three years on and the art installation has become an accepted fixture in this corner of east Leeds. For good reasons, or perhaps bad reasons, it’s now a landmark.
The trio of metal structures, which are placed at right angles to each other on a grassed-over roundabout, were erected by Leeds City Council at a cost of £143,000, with an annual upkeep cost of, on average, £4,600.
Inevitably it left people wondering what they got for the not inconsiderable sum of money. The work also had more than a few Leeds United fans up in arms when they noticed the red, blue and yellow lighting echoed the strip colours of their arch rivals, Manchester United.
“As with any new piece of art you’re always going to get people who don’t like it,” says local councillor Peter Gruen “And it’s fair to say that the residents of Cross Gates were divided in their opinions.
“But over time I think people have come to accept it as being part of the local landscape really and any feedback we tend to get from people seems to be pretty positive. I think the gates have put the place on the map.”
The partial identity problem faced by Cross Gates was due to local shops and services being clustered around a bottleneck of busy streets.
Cross Gates Road, which runs off the A64, meets the ring road but a stream of traffic is also directed up Austhorpe Road. The effect is to create the impression of somewhere you pass through, rather than a location you stop and utilise.
“Anything that raises the profile of the area is good,” says David Coulthard, manager of the nearby Crossgates Shopping Centre “There’s a tremendous sense of community here and many local people do all their shopping locally. But in terms of being a destination attracting people from further afield it was always a bit of a hidden gem, which was a shame really.”