Hopes that we are over the worst in 2011

FEW would disagree that 2010 was a challenging year for Leeds, for West Yorkshire and for Britain as a whole.

The recession may have officially come to an end in January, but its repercussions are even now still being felt.

There is little doubt that the downturn inflicted severe damage on the economy, on the country and on us as individuals.

Companies went to the wall and many lost their jobs, with business leaders warning it would take us years to recover.

Now public sector cuts are looming, which will have a profound impact in the months and, quite probably, the years to come.

However, crucially, amid all the doom and gloom there is also a feeling that 2010 may prove to be the year Britain bottomed out.

There are signs, particularly in Leeds, that confidence is steadily being rebuilt. From here, perhaps, the only way is up.

The first major development in the country to re-start following the recession was the retail and leisure outlet Trinity Leeds.

Together with Eastgate Quarters and the Leeds Arena, investment in the city now stands at 1billion.

Leeds Bradford International Airport became the fastest growing regional airport in the UK and added to its flight routes, connecting Leeds with a host of European destinations.

And although England failed to win the bid to bring the World Cup to these shores, the city demonstrated its sporting credentials when it was chosen as a host city for the bid.

Leeds United moved up to the Championship, while Leeds Rhinos made the final of the Gillette World Club Challenge and the Headingley Carnegie Stand became a new sporting landmark for the city.

Leeds also enjoyed unprecedented success at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show.

The only city that competes alongside high-profile horticulturalists at the event, the city's garden made history.

It was the first time any local authority had won a gold award for excellence for an outdoor show garden in the history of the event.

Our architecture continued to shine in 2010 too, winning numerous awards.

Candle House at Granary Wharf and Leeds Metropolitan University's Broadcasting Place both beat stiff competition to earn national and international recognition.

Leeds City Council and Yorkshire Forward also invested 2.5m to improve parts of the city centre.

And the post-recession 'ghost towns' many feared would be created due to newly-built city living flats staying empty did not materialise.

Instead, city centre living boomed in 2010, the heart of Leeds becoming a residential mecca once more.

There is no denying that 2010 has been a difficult year for many.

But as we prepare to celebrate the promise of a new year, we hope that we come to look back on the last one as the year things started turning round.

A happy, and prosperous, 2011 to all.

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