School success is just reward for local effort

IT'S not often that we find ourselves applauding people who break into buildings, but the actions of Leeds campaigners who illegally occupied their derelict local school sparked a groundswell of support.

The squatters moved into Royal Park Primary School in Woodhouse just over a year ago, having grown so frustrated at the dilapidated state of the building that they decided it was time to take matters into their own hands.

Their aim was to save it from the bulldozers, while persuading the council that it could enjoy a new life as a valuable resource for the local community.

Having patched it up, they duly staged activities such as jumble sales and a circus skills workshop before their inevitable eviction.

Now their determined stand has been rewarded with Leeds City Council agreeing to hand it over to them.

The decision is just reward for the efforts of the Royal Park Community Consortium, which followed up its controversial occupation with more conventional campaigning and form-filling over the last 12 months.

Soon the group will know if it has secured the funding needed to allow it to take on the building and start work on a transformation that will create a hub for the whole community to enjoy.

Credit to them for their dogged dedication – and to the council for giving them this chance.

Welcome help

TO a certain extent Anti-Social Behaviour Orders have fallen out of favour. These restrictions, placed on those who have been making life hell for others, are not now always regarded as the saviour they were once thought to be. Some argue they are ineffective, or that they can even be seen as a badge of honour.

Nevertheless, anti-social behaviour is a pernicious crime that eats away at its victims, destroying their quality of life. So the news that four people who made it their business to intimidate and harass their neighbours in Armley, Leeds, have all received ASBOs is welcome.

Despite their possible shortcomings, Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are a useful front-line defence when ordinary people desperately need help to fight back against thuggery.

Speak up

THE saying goes that you can always tell a Yorkshireman, but you can't tell him much. With a reputation like that, there should be plenty of us willing to commit our voices to tape for posterity.

The British Library's Evolving English project wants to capture the way we speak in Leeds in 2011.

As well as a snapshot of the dialect, they're also on the lookout for local phrases and sayings.

Perhaps the city's teenagers can be persuaded to provide some early 21st century slang for the project.

We can't guarantee future listeners will understand what they're on about. But, let's face it, most of us struggle to get the gist of it now.