Leeds eyesore to be bulldozed

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A BURNT OUT eyesore in Leeds is finally seeing the bulldozers descend, to the relief of locals and well over a decade after the blaze that created it.

Leeds City Council’s decision-making executive board is today expected to rubberstamp £4.3m of funding for the redevelopment of the Kirkstall Road household waste recycling site.

The existing facility was severely damaged by fire in September 2002, when more than 70 firefighters tackled the blaze which burned through the roof of a building at the site.

Since the fire, waste handling operations at the site have been carried out around the damaged structures, which are visible from far and wide. Complaints from locals have been frequent, and the site has been branded an “eyesore”.

Local Kirkstall Labour councillor Bernard Atha said the redevelopment news was “very welcome indeed” and that locals had been trying to get the structures knocked down for well over a decade.

“People in the area saw it as an abomination and so its demolition will be very well received,” he said.

He said the blaze - which ended the facility’s general household waste handling capability, but not its recycling - might actually have been “fortuitous”.

This was because the former facility was “not very effective” and locals were left living near a virtual cesspit of “fly-breeding, smelliness and unpleasantness”.

“It was deeply unpopular,” he said. “To see the structure go is good. It will create space for a proper, organised waste recycling centre and civic tip.”

Demolition work on the blackened structures has already started and will finish by the end of March. The main recycling site will remain open throughout the demolition process.

A report which is expected to be approved by the council’s cabinet today says the redevelopment of the Kirkstall Road Transfer Loading Station (TLS) and Household Waste Sorting Site (HWSS) will “provide environmental improvements in the Kirkstall area” by “greatly improving the physical appearance” of the site.

It will also provide a “more efficient public recycling service”, and will make “a significant contribution to achieving the city’s recycling targets”.

Today’s meeting is expected to authorise up to £4.3m of the city’s capital funds to be used for the project. Further design work is also set to be approved.

Construction could start by November, during which time recycling operations on the site would close and people would be re-directed to alternative recycling facilities in the city.

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