Asset transfers


In 2007 the previous Labour Government commissioned the Quirk Report which recommended that in some circumstances public assets should be transfered to third sector organisations and community groups. The new coalition government has continued with this policy. In Leeds the Council has already transferred the former Bennett Road Primary School building to the Headingley Development Trust and the former Hillside Primary School to the Tiger 11 project. In January 2011 the Council's Executive Board agreed to transfer the former Royal Park Primary School to a local community organisation.

There is a real prospect that Leeds City Council may transfer some public land in Kirkstall to be managed directly by local community groups. This could be an opportunity to implement some key ideas from the Kirkstall Vision process. To succeed, the new management teams must be broadly based, and must bring together a wide range of skills and enthusiasms.

We urgently need to identify two groups of people: (1) a nucleus of enthusiasts with the drive, skills and time to serve on asset management committees; (2) a wider group who support the concept, and want to be consulted and involved, but do not wish to engage with day to day asset management. If you feel that you might belong to either group, please contact any of the Kirkstall councillors as quickly as possible. For the fastest response, use please use Cllr Illingworth's home email address john@illo.demon.co.uk which is less congested than the Leeds City Council email.


There are two neighbouring sites that may soon become available:

  1. Dobby Row BMX track. This the former municipal waste tip next to “Ready, steady, store” on Kirkstall Road, that is mostly covered with leylandii and self-seeded sycamore trees. It looks OK from a distance, but the surface is mostly rubble. It has never been developed because there is a weak Victorian sewer underneath. The proposal is to cover it with the considerable pile of topsoil left over from the A65 bus scheme, replant with native trees, and then use it for BMX pedal bikes (no motors). This will be BMX trail biking, with jumps, rather than BMX racing, and the mainly younger users (and their parents) will be heavily involved in the design, construction and operation. This is a fairly small scheme, but we need to act very quickly because of the A65 timetable. There is a dedicated website at http://www.dig2ride.net/ and a live planning application 10/04893/LA on the Leeds City Council public access website. The Council lacks the resources to manage this scheme beyond the initial construction stage, and progress depends on having a local management team in place.

  2. St Ann’s Mills. This is potentially a much bigger scheme, which includes substantial buildings and several acres of land including the bed of the river. It could form the nucleus for a Kirkstall Valley Park for which there is a dedicated website http://kvp.org.uk The main mill building has three floors of 400 sq metres each, plus a 200 sq metre garage, outbuildings and storage yards. It would make an ideal visitor centre for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve, and also a base for the Leeds Canoe Club to build a white water canoe course. Even these projects will not fill it, and there are opportunities for locally managed enterprise workspace, or a local offender management scheme as envisaged by Kenneth Clarke (and many others!) where the punishment of minor offenders would be combined with skills training to reduce their chance of re-offending. If this aspect were developed it would obviously be in partnership with the Probation Service.

We also have a long term interest in Abbey Mills, but that building is grade 2 listed and it is a significantly bigger challenge.

Last updated 16 January 2011 at 00:29. Back to the top

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Promoted by John Illingworth, 37 Kirkwood Way, Leeds LS16 7EU