Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2021 guide judge says Leeds could be 'Britain's best city' - but reveals what is holding it back
We all know Leeds is the best place to live in the country.
And it appears the writers of the Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide may be coming round to our way of thinking.
Yorkshire as a whole had a good year in the guide, boasting the regional winner for the north of England (Ilkley) and six other entries - including Leeds' very own Chapel Allerton.
Expert judges behind the guide assess a wide range of factors, from schools, air quality, transport and broadband speeds to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.
They were looking for improving towns, villages or city centres, for attractive, well designed homes and locations bursting with community spirit - which the pandemic has shown to be the most vital quality of all.
Now, an editor from the guide has gone further and elaborated on his thoughts about Leeds, saying the city "has a good claim to be Britain's best city".
He said: "Some of the visible high-rise buildings are pretty ugly, and they have far more roads than they need."
Architecture may be a matter of taste, but there's no doubt that Leeds does have a lot of roads in and around it's city centre.
While roads are of course necessary, there has been a shift in emphasis in recent years as more parts of the city centre become pedestrianised (Greek Street is already closed to traffic and Call Lane is following), and 'active travel' (walking and cycling) is the new buzzword as city leaders want us to live in a city where you don't even need to own a car.
Last year, the Yorkshire Evening Post launched its Unlock the Gridlock campaign, which set out five key transport priorities in response to concerns consistently raised by readers about the congestion and unreliable public transport networks that were blighting their lives on a daily basis.
A draft Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy also draws on the idea of developing '20-minute neighbourhoods' where people can walk or cycle to access key services needed on a daily basis instead of making longer journeys by car.
Maybe as more changes are made, we can expect to see more Leeds neighbourhoods make the Sunday Times list, not just more affluent areas like Chapel Allerton.
Tim Palmer added: "Chapel Allerton is exactly what you want in a suburb - it's got a brilliant high street with a cheese shop, fishmonger, butcher.
"I'm so impressed with the energy and activities aimed at families. CA Spaces have done things like an advent calendar trail and provided a mud kitchen.
"They're quite unusual and they're using space really well. For walks, you have Gledhow Valley Woods and the parks nearby.
"I hope it bleeds into its surroundings and its good influence spreads, because it's the right sort of gentrification."
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