Big plans for disused Leeds rail viaduct

Ed Carlisle, one of the organisers of the viaduct group.
Ed Carlisle, one of the organisers of the viaduct group.
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Five decades since trains on a soot-filled railway viaduct were stopped in their tracks, plans to revive a 144-year-old landmark are moving forward.

Residents in south Leeds are hoping to rescue the redundant Holbeck Viaduct, which runs from Gelderd Road to Globe Road, in Holbeck, through a £10,000 community-led project to turn it into a park and sky walkway into Leeds city centre.

The ambitious scheme, led by charity worker Ed Carlisle and around a dozen residents, aims to build on Leeds City Council’s £5m pre-recession plans to revamp the landmark.

Mr Carlisle said: “There is a desire to have an interesting and accessible route into Leeds.

“There isn’t lots of money floating around but quite often you don’t need lots of money but the right people and the will to make things happen.”

The 35-year-old said the group wants the viaduct put on a conservation list, while talks with Network Rail, which is thought to own the structure, need to happen before any structural surveys are set up.

Fundraising work is in the pipeline before a targeted opening date in 2015.

The plan includes installing staircases to make it accessible from Domestic Street and Holbeck Urban Village. It would be cleared by volunteers to feature raised flower beds, lighting and art installations.

Coun Angela Gabriel (Lab, Beeston and Holbeck) added: “If we could pull it off it would be wonderful.”

A council spokeswoman said it is planning to speak to Network Rail about the feasibility of the plan.

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