OAP-unfriendly Leeds ‘losing out on grey pound’

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A group of campaigners says Leeds city centre is alienating older people.

The City Centre Group at Leeds Older People’s Forum claims over-60s are flocking to other towns that are seen as pensioner-friendly.

Member Bronwen Holden said businesses were losing out on the “grey pound”.

“Leeds boasts about its city centre, but there’s a general impression that it’s not for older people.

“It doesn’t present itself as a destination for older people and a lot of them are going to Otley, Ilkley, Harrogate which are seen as more welcoming and friendly. There’s no recognition of the grey pound.”

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The group said a lack of public toilets and seating, inadequate crossing times at pedestrian crossings and poor night-time security were among the reasons why some older people did not use the city centre. Problems with public transport and parking were also an issue.

Miranda Miller said: “It’s meant to be a city for all ages. We’re older people who see things from our own perspective, but what’s good for us is good for everyone.”

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for adult social care at Leeds City Council, said there had been efforts to introduce more accessible toilets in the city centre.

She added: “Ensuring that we have inclusive communities is a priority for us. Next year is the Year of Active Ageing and we want to make sure the entire council has older people on their agenda.”

The City Centre Group wants the new Trinity Leeds shopping scheme to make provisions for older people.

Andrew Dudley of Land Securities, which is developing the £350m project, off Boar Lane, said talks had taken place with the Access Committee for Leeds.

He said: “The advice that we have received from the Access Committee for Leeds has been extremely helpful in ensuring that the needs of disabled people and those with limited mobility are reflected both in the design of the centre and the facilities that it will offer when it opens in spring 2013.”

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