Business owner left furious as major Headingley road set to be closed on Freshers weekend for "World Car Free Day"

North Lane, Headingley
North Lane, Headingley
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A business owner has been left furious after learning the road outside her shop will be closed on one of the busiest days of the year.

Shirley Phillipson owns the Dress Up and Party shop on North Lane in Headingley - a popular store for students.

On Wednesday last week (July 31), she said she received a leaflet notifying her of a partial road closure on the street on September 22.

The letter, from the Headingley Development Trust, said: "We will be celebrating World Car Free Day on Sunday September 22nd 12.30-16.00 by closing a section of North Lane to motor traffic and holding a street fair.

"The road closure has been agreed between Leeds City Council and Zero Carbon Headingley.

"We hope the event will provide an opportunity for people to experience the benefits of life without the pollution, noise and congestion of traffic on the roads.

"The street fair will include stalls from a wide range of environmental and local community groups as well as attractions for children and food stalls.

"Some local choirs and bands have also been invited to perform, taking advantage of the quieter, car-free environment.

"Zero Carbon Headingley is campaigning for improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists in Headingley, along with better public transport.

"We want the fair to increase awareness of the benefits of reducing private car and HGV traffic."

However, Shirley said the closure would be on Freshers weekend - one of the busiest for businesses in the area of the entire year.

Shirley said: "I own a fancy dress shop in Headingley.

"I got a letter from the Headingley Development Trust telling me they are closing North Lane on Sunday, September 22nd.

"The letter said the road will be closed between 12 and 5pm on the day."

Shirley said she understands the motives behind the day but believes the closure will have a negative impact for students moving to the area for the first time.

She added: "There will be so many cars going through Headingley for the first time.

"Nobody will have a clue where to go, it is the main road through.

"Parents will be dropping their children off and having to queue in traffic, not knowing where to go.

"This will cause more congestion if anything.

"It doesn't make sense to me."

Board member of HDT and member of Zero Carbon Headingley, Matthew Hill, said in response: "September 22nd is "World Car Free Day" and Zero Carbon Headingley are organising a street fair on North Lane as we want to give local residents the opportunity to enjoy spending the afternoon without the noise, pollution and congestion of traffic.

"We'll have a range of stalls from environmental groups in Leeds as well as food, music and entertainment for children.

"The fair is part of a wider campaign to make Headingley more pedestrian and cycle friendly, improve public transport and reduce HGV and car traffic.

"We have contacted many of the local businesses on North Lane who have been supportive of the event and are working with the Leeds Council to minimise traffic disruption for the Sunday afternoon when the road will be closed.

"It is not our intention to inconvenience any local businesses, but the carbon emissions and air pollution from road traffic is a major concern both locally and internationally and we do need to address this issue."