Morley residents criticise plans to modernise town as locals attend 'Green and Connected’ town hall drop-in

Morley residents were invited to have their say on proposals to improve greenspaces and connectivity across the town proposed as part of the Government's £24m Towns Fund.

By Alex Grant
Friday, 26th November 2021, 4:45 pm

The drop-in event ran from 1pm to 6pm yesterday (November 25) with planners present to discuss the proposed plans with locals.

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Local leaders previously faced criticism following the changes made to Morley Bottoms as part of the scheme but hope that wider consultation will sway the public's perspective.

One resident present at the drop-in referred to plans as a "waste of time". Picture: Lee Hession.

"People need to be engaged more and the community needs to feel like their views will be listened too," Coun Terry Grayshon told the YEP "People will welcome change if its a positive change and not a negative one and that's why so many are up in arms over this."

The Morley Bottoms project, which involved closing the lower end of Queen Street to general traffic, and increasing pedestrian crossings was aimed at reducing pollution in an area of high build-up although was carried with little to know discussion with the local community.

The area is now home to outdoor seating for the bars and restaurants although as the nights get darker and the days colder locals have questioned the point of the change.

"It was just a waste of time and everybody who has to go to work that way are really annoyed as they are getting stuck in queues of traffic." retired member of the Morley Chamber of Trade, Christine Hirst said "I think most people would have been happy had they left the road open during the day before closing it at 6 or 7pm in the evening.

Proposed plans include the creation of pocket parks, a small park accessible to the public, and new pedestrianised areas to improve both public safety and accessibility. Picture: JPI Media.

Beyond the Morley Bottoms scheme planning is in place to modernise sections of the town including:

Investing in local parks

Offering better connections to the railway station

Providing better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists

Improving the civic space around the Grade I listed Morley Town Hall

Central to these plans is an effort to ensure the town is not only greener but safer.

Leah Stuart, Director at Civic Engineers explained: "If you can get your younger generation walking and cycling, if you can get parents confident to let their daughters go out and walk to their friends houses through a network of safe streets and women and girls feel safe then that translates into the next generation as well.

"Going green is hugely important. We've got climate change, Leeds City Council has declared net-zero as has countless councils across the country and we do have to make a set change in how we behave and really invest in lower carbon alternatives."

Proposed plans include the creation of pocket parks, a small park accessible to the public, and new pedestrianised areas to improve both public safety and accessibility.

"There's quite a lot that needs doing with the parks in terms of site furniture, benches, picnic tables etc." explained Mark Knight, landscape team manager for Groundwork Yorkshire "We want to prioritise those parks that haven't had recent investment and ensure they are fit for the future."

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