Growing support for south Leeds viaduct bid as leading politician gives backing

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett joins viaduct campaigners Ed Carlisle, Dan Palmer, Jim Hirst and Lucy Potter. Picture by Simon Hulme.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett joins viaduct campaigners Ed Carlisle, Dan Palmer, Jim Hirst and Lucy Potter. Picture by Simon Hulme.
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The community campaign to create a city centre walkway from a Victorian railway viaduct is rolling forward.

The resident-led Holbeck Highline group hopes to turn Holbeck Viaduct, the structure linking Holbeck to Leeds city centre, into a cycle and pedestrian park and walkway.

Natalie Bennett with Holbeck Highline campaigners. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Natalie Bennett with Holbeck Highline campaigners. Picture by Simon Hulme.

A new website has been launched by the group, which released a stunning drone video of the site earlier this year, and discussions are ongoing with viaduct owners Network Rail, although it is understood that progress is slow.

The campaign was boosted last week by the visit of Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, who feels the bid to revamp the site has “enormous potential”.

An associated project by the Grub and Grog Shop, which runs the bar and events venue at Northern Monk Brew Co, in Marshall Street, to create a mini ‘urban farm’ growing local produce on Sweet Street West, next to the viaduct, has also been lauded by Bennett.

She said: “The urban farm scheme is a great opportunity to bring communities together ​around the production of healthy local food.

“And the viaduct has enormous potential to become a real Leeds landmark, as well as an active tranport route. I look forward to seeing and hearing how they both develop.”

The viaduct was built in the 1880s as a major city landmark but as rail services evolved, the structure fell into disuse. It last saw action in the 1990s.

Inspired by regenerated walkways such as the New York Highline, the group of residents has been meeting to discuss how south Leeds could create its own ‘active transport’ link on a shoestring budget for the past two years.

Ed Carlisle, group organiser, said: “We’ve got a​ very​ long way to go, but it’s great to see people getting excited and getting involved, so I’m hopeful that together we can pull off something fantastic. It’s also fantastic seeing the emergence of this urban farm project.”

For details visit holbeckhighline.org.uk or facebook.com/groups/190849144426363.

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