New Wortley: 300 households are hooked up to gas ... at long last

It's going to be an extra warm winter for a New Wortley grandma and her family.

Diane Willey, of Clyde Walk, is one of the first householders on her estate enjoying a new gas supply since it was built in the 1960s.

Even though the estate was constructed in the shadow of the landmark

New Wortley gas holder, the homes were only ever connected to the electricity grid.

But now, in a UK first, around 300 properties on the Holdforths, the Bruces and the Clydes are finally being connected to mains gas free of charge. They can now get cheaper gas supplies – rather than expensive electricity – for heating, hot water and cooking.

Mrs Willey, 65, has just retired from her council job after 34 years, and celebrated her ruby wedding anniversary earlier this year.

She says gas central heating in her home will give her an extra warm glow this Christmas – and is encouraging others to sign up.

Mrs Willey, who lives with husband Keith and son Craig, said: "Many people shy away from this change, but the whole process both inside my own house and outside on the roads has been less disruptive than I thought – there was more disruption when we had the street lights replaced!

"I am looking forward to welcoming my grandchildren, especially at Christmas when we will be all snug and warm!

"I've never had heating in the bedrooms, so it doesn't matter how cold it gets this winter, I know Keith and I will be nice and warm."

Mrs Willey's family stopped using the under-floor heating in their home when bills reached more than 400 a quarter.

They had been managing with plug-in radiators and an electric fire.

New Wortley is the first area in Leeds to get the new gas supplies as part of a project by Northern Gas Networks and Leeds-based community interest group Community Energy Solutions

They are working with West North West Homes Leeds to install gas systems in as many homes a possible before the winter sets in.

Sixty families have signed up and work on extending the gas mains into the estate is planned to be completed by the end of this month.

Northern Gas Networks' Chris Arnold, who visited Mrs Willey in her home to see the difference for himself, said: "Bringing affordable warmth to these communities is vital, and it is very rewarding seeing their quality of life improved already."