YEP Says, February 19: Leeds is on a roll but it needs to keep thinking big

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...and let’s get cracking on city culture bid

THE good news keeps coming for Leeds. New figures show the city outperformed much of the rest of the country over Christmas.

The festive season brought bumper returns in terms of shoppers, tourists and business trips.

It meant the city’s hotels were the busiest they have been for seven years, while £26m was raked in through vistors’ spending during their time here.

All in all, it’s a huge seal of approval for Leeds – and vindication of the new wave of belief and confidence in the city.

That’s because the major contributors to this surge were the First Direct Arena and Trinity Leeds – two developments that prove the old adage ‘if you build it, people will come’.

For too long the city was held back by a palpable shortage of ambition. There’s no reason why that should be the case any more.

The Victoria Gate development and burgeoning Arena Quarter will help make Leeds even more appealing to everyone from relocating businesses to investors and daytrippers.

But we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. There are countless other areas – from small-scale improvements to major projects – where Leeds must continue to think big.

And surely finding an adequate solution to the city’s traffic woes should be right at the top of the list.

Let’s get cracking on city culture bid

SPEAKING of ambition, making a Leeds bid for the European Capital of Culture title is surely a no-brainer.

And the signs are that most people feel the same way.

Culture bosses at Leeds City Council say there has been a groundswell of support for the city to stage a bid to be named the Capital of Culture in 2023.

The scale of city-wide backing means that council chiefs won’t have to spend as much cash as previously thought because people are willing to give their time for free.

Even more reason to take the plunge and throw our hat in the ring.