YEP Says, December 18: Now let’s build on what has been a golden year for city

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...and Citizens Advice cuts come at the worst possible time

THIS has been a golden year for Leeds.

The city’s hosting of the Tour de France’s Grand Depart was an unqualified success.

Now figures show that shoppers are streaming into the city centre in the run-up to Christmas.

Special cameras that capture footfall have recorded an increase on 12 months ago – and a significant eight per cent leap compared to just two years ago.

Across the whole of the year, those footfall figures stand at a staggering 55 million.

Leeds is booming thanks to renewed confidence, a raised profile and substantial investment in the shape of developments such as the Leeds Arena and Trinity, which go from strength to strength.

That is not to say, however, that there isn’t room for improvement, because there is.

The city centre could certainly benefit from having better leisure facilities – imperative if it is to achieve its aim of attracting more families.

By the same token it could also do with having a more welcoming, less intimidating feel at night as well as cheaper and easier parking.

But at a time of continued economic uncertainty, Leeds has managed to buck the trend and move forward.

It began with the Grand Depart and this momentum must now be built on. A bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 would do just that.

Citizens Advice cuts come at the worst time

DESPITE the encouraging picture emerging from the city centre, times are still incredibly hard for so many families in Leeds.

So it is concerning that advice services that are a lifeline to so many are now in the firing line for cuts.

Some offices of Leeds Citizens Advice Bureau are set to close and potential clients – many of whom will be on low incomes and without a car – will be asked to travel to access their services.

The free guidance on all manner of issues provided by the CAB is a priceless resource. Given the continued economic climate, ready access to its services should be widened, not restricted.