Join the debate and have your say on the future of your Leeds.
That is the message coming from some of the city’s top political figures ahead of next week’s landmark public debate over the results of the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Voice of Leeds Survey.
Nearly 2,000 people shared their thoughts to create a snapshot of life in the city earlier this year, and now readers are being invited to put their questions directly to five influential Leeds figures including West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson at the YEP’s Whitehall Road offices on November 13 from 6pm.
The YEP has teamed up with the Leeds Community Foundation to run a series of summits next year to highlight and debate the key issues that need to be addressed in the city.
Concerns over multi-million pound public transport projects, community safety, crime and poverty arose from the Voice of Leeds Survey.
Former West Leeds MP and national director of Church Action on Poverty, John Battle, will be among the high profile debate panel and feels raising issues such as poverty, transport and crime in Leeds is “incredibly valuable”.
“It’s making voices heard and deepening the conversation. We have got to share analysis of what the city looks like and the more people that join that conversation, the better, so we can shape Leeds for the future,” he said. “There isn’t a sense of Leeds as one city, there is a sense of fragmentation because we have gone through such massive social and economic change over the last 25 years.”
Major findings from the Voice of Leeds Survey included that three-quarters of respondents believe traffic is a problem in Leeds that is only getting worse and nearly 70 per cent of people who took part said council chiefs made the wrong decision to charge for weekend and evening parking in the city centre.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Often perceptions of crime outweigh crime itself, but clearly Leeds is a major city and district where residents need to feel as though it is safe, so that people can go about their daily business.
“This ties in with some of the community conversations over crime we’re having already, so I’ll be doing my best to listen to what people have got to say. We need to be working together on this.”
Leeds City Council’s lead member for communities, Coun Mark Dobson, will also speak at the debate. He added: “I’m keen to hear more at the panel event and discuss what the future might hold for Leeds.”
To get involved in the YEP’s special public debate you can apply for free tickets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or applying by post to Jayne Lownsbrough at YEP, No 1 Leeds, 26 Whitehall Road, Leeds, LS12 1BE. Include a question in your submission for tickets, for which the deadline is Friday November 7.
FIVE DEBATE SPEAKERS
- Mark Burns-Williamson: West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
- Sally-Anne Greenfield: Chief executive of Leeds Community Foundation.
- John Battle: Former West Leeds MP and director of Church Action on Poverty.
- Coun James Lewis: West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s transport committee chair.
- Coun Mark Dobson: Leeds City Council’s executive member for cleaner, stronger and safer communities.