Bramley Baths and Headingley HEART Leeds community projects singled out for praise

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Two high profile community projects which saved at risk buildings and at the same time transformed their Leeds neighbourhoods have been singled out for praise from council bosses.

Bramley Baths and Headingley HEART were cited by Leeds City Council’s executive board as successful examples of community right-to-bid projects.

The praise came during a debate about the relative success of the scheme, which is a key element of the Localism Act.

It allows councils and other public bodies to put the ownership and management of neighbourhood assets - which it can no longer afford to run - back into the community’s hands.

Councils have the power to dispose of land and buildings at a cut price where interested parties are able to show that doing so will result in local improvements to social, economic or environmental wellbeing.

A meeting of the council’s executive board yesterday was told that there had been “deep resistance” to some such projects in the past from council officers.

Lib Dem group leader councillor Stewart Golton said the Headingley HEART project - which breathed new life into a former primary school building - had met with some initial scepticism but had become a “thriving success” and a key ingredient in rejuvenating Headingley.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, told colleagues: “We have had some successes like Bramley Baths but some are very difficult.

“There are some examples that have worked and some that haven’t. We haven’t got it completely right but there are some real successes.”

He said the challenge was to find ways of maximising “revenue streams”.

There’s a will to do it better, admittedly some do it better than others,” he said.

The debate was part of wider discussion on the new Social Charter, a pledge to “promote social responsibility and deliver social value” in the city.

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