Victory for people power after 14-year battle over eyesore site

Campaigner Norah Gibson with neighbours at the former filling station on Broad Lane, Bramley in 2008
Campaigner Norah Gibson with neighbours at the former filling station on Broad Lane, Bramley in 2008
Have your say

A FOURTEEN-year battle to rid a west Leeds neighbourhood of an eyesore - and replace it with something positive and lasting - is finally bearing fruit.

As reported in the YEP previously in a series of articles, locals have campaigned long and hard to clean up the former Q8 petrol station site in Broad Lane, Bramley.

They won the first round of the battle after Leeds City Council used enforcement powers to apply pressure on the site’s co-owners to clean up the overgrown and filthy site.

However the accumulation of rubbish and growth of vegetation continued, and the use of unattractive concrete drainage sections to prevent access by vehicles was criticised.

It has now been confirmed that the council has used additional powers to take over marketing of the site.

It means the land is now up for redevelopment, and what was once a major eyesore could become something altogether more appealing.

Norah Gibson, long-time resident of Broad Lane, kickstarted the campaigning in 2001, when the petrol station was demolished.

She compiled a dossier of activity, including flytipping and evidence of indecent behaviour, and even took the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.

She said she is now feeling “very positive” and praised the recent “pro-active” work of the council and local councillors.

“We were getting a bit dispirited that it had not been marketed, but I am optimistic about the future,” she said.

“I have confidence that the end use of the site will be in keeping with the area. That is key to all this.”

Locals have continuously lobbied the owners of the site, Kuwait Petroleum, to improve the site.

Numerous attempts have been made to sell it, but there has been no progress.

Following requests from local councillors, the council’s Asset Management and Regeneration Service have now directly taken over the marketing of the site and has put a series of measures in place to improve the chance of a suitable offer being submitted. Any interested developers are urged to contact the council to arrange to visit the site.

Leeds City Council has previously identified a hitlist of the city’s worst eyesore sites, with a view to working on them to bring them back into use.

Bosses said at the time that though they would be able to deal with some sites quickly, others would require “a concerted effort over a number of years”. “We really want to work with owners of buildings to ensure that these sites do not blight areas in the city and are not simply just tidied up, but brought back into use,” housing boss coun Peter Gruen said in 2012.

Neighbourhood new restaurant and cocktail bar.

Restaurant review: Neighbourhood, Leeds