STOP PRESS – Swarthmore Raising the Roof Event Tomorrow

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Special Meeting of the Hyde Park and Woodhouse Forum


From left to right in the picture above are, Zahid Butt, Inspector Ian O’Brien, Divisional Commander David Oldroyd, Councillor Gerry Harper and Chris Dickinson. Newly elected councillor Christine Towler was also present at the meeting. The meeting began with an address from Commander Oldroyd.

Commander Oldroyd The depot costs £130,000 per annum to run. We could rent the new building from the university for about £20,000 per annum. Parts of the old building are condemned. The roof leaks. It’s too big for what we need. The majority of it is a huge car park. Our first option was to close it and move to Weetwood or Pudsey. But this wasn’t a practical solution. The clock was ticking with regards to the Environmental Health people and the Fire Brigade. Then we came across the university site which would save us £100,000. We can move everything from Belle Vue Road to the university. We’ve several parking spaces at the rear of the premises. There’ll still be a Starburst Effect as officers leave the new building. I’m not getting into bed with the university.

Sue Thomas There won’t be a Starburst Effect on Kelso Road where I live.

Gentleman Will someone be keeping an eye on the crime rate here after you’ve moved?

Read the full account of the meeting

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Morning on Woodhouse Square


This was the scene at 9am this morning on Woodhouse Square.

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Proposal to create Islamic Cultural Centre on St Michael’s site


A project is under way to create an Islamic Cultural Centre on the St Michael’s College site on St John’s Road. The proposal would create worship facilities for 1,500, a primary school and a cinema. The project is being run by the managing director of Park Lane Properties, a property and lettings agency registered in the Bahamas. The project organisers have applied for funding from the Middle East in order to purchase the site and for the scheme to proceed. Further details are available at the project organisers’ website.

St Michael’s College closed in 2008 after a hundred years of providing a Grammar School education to the city’s Catholic teenagers. The original building was extended in the 1960s enabling the school to take in around 700 pupils. Prior to the closure in 2008, this number had fallen to 450. Please click on this link to see photos of the school.

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Hyde Park and Woodhouse Forum


This meeting has been called to provide a Police and Community Safety update and will discuss the proposed relocation of Neighbourhood Policing Team from the Belle Vue Police Depot

On : Wednesday, 9 May 2012 7:00 pm
Place : Swarthmore Centre, 2-7 Woodhouse Square, LS3 1AD.
To view a map showing the location of this event, please click on this icon :Show in Google map 
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Today’s Picnic on the Rosebank


Our thanks to everyone involved, especially Barbara Mitchell for making today’s picnic such a success. Here are some photos that Maggi took showing people having a good time. And here’s what Mandy said about it:

Playing ‘body scrabble’ summed it all up really – a bunch of people, from all walks of life, get together and make something lovely happen !

Great music, activities, lovely refreshments attracted an interesting variety of people – who will be able to pass on the message about the benefits of a shared community.

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Police plan to quit Belle Vue Road Depot


The local police have submitted a planning application (ref 12/01402/FU) to relocate from the Belle Vue Road depot to a site on Woodhouse Lane owned by Leeds University. The proposed new site is located opposite the old BBC studios.

The planning application states:

The proposal is for West Yorkshire Police to relocate the Belle Vue Neighbourhood Policing Team and Proactive Crime teams into the building to be used as an operational base for local policing. Currently the existing teams for this area are located in Belle Vue Garages on Belle Vue Road. These premises are in a state of disrepair and with the growing spending pressures it is not economically viable to the Force to spend money on these premises are earmarked for disposal.

As a result of this consideration, the Local Division has invested time and effort into negotiations with Leeds University with regard to obtaining access to premises in or around the University Campus.

Recently it has become clear that the University see this as a very positive move and from a police point of view the Campus is very close to Belle Vue and offers many opportunities for improving the policing service in and around the Campus and the tens of thousands of students who surround it and the policing hotspot it occupies.

In addition the integration of the Police into University premises assists the University strategy to become ranked with the top universities worldwide.

The planning application goes on to say:

Various forms of consultation have taken place directly with the residents/businesses in the area principally the immediate adjacent property owners of Unipol and the Grind Café have been consulted over the intended use – both occupants have no reservations and support the enhanced Police presence in the area, feeling that the increased level of visibility in the area will give the community more confidence in crime reduction and personal safety.

But what about the residents of Hyde Park and Woodhouse?

A few years ago, our local police inspector applied for permission to have parking bays for police vehicles on St John’s Road, outside the existing depot. In support of his application, he stated that the presence of police vehicles on the street would deter crime in a high crime area. But now the police want to quit our area so they can police the university campus. Don’t they know that the university has its own security service to police its campus? Don’t they know that the crime in this area occurs outside the university campus, and not in it? They’ve planned this move without any consultation with the community which has played host to them for decades. And they’ve forgotten that it’s the permanent residents of Hyde Park and Woodhouse who pay for the police service, not Leeds University.

Possible land swap?

In 2001, the Grammar School’s former headmaster boasted how he had single-handedly arranged the school’s relocation from its Moorland Road site to Alwoodley. He said that prior to the move, he and the university’s vice chancellor had had secret meetings at which the headmaster agreed to accept a farm at Alwoodley and a large cash sum, in exchange for the school’s Moorland Road site. He said that secrecy had been essential so that no one could object to the scheme until it was too late. The result of the deal he struck is the massive new Law School which totally dominates the Victorian houses at the top of Belle Vue Road.

The police have told no one about their intention to quit the Belle Vue Road Depot. This planning application is the first intimation of such a plan. Could this be stage one of a secret land swap arranged with university? A couple of years from now, might we see another massive university block on this site, to match the one they already have at the other end of Belle Vue Road?

How to object

You can object to this application either by using the council’s online form or by sending an email to If you send an email, remember to quote the planning application reference number and give your postal address. The deadline for objections is Friday 18th May 2012.

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Picnic on the Rosebank

On : Saturday, 28 April 2012 12:00 am
Place : Rosebank Road, LS3 1EZ
To view a map showing the location of this event, please click on this icon :Show in Google map 
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Cancelled – Jive Night at Swarthmore

On : Thursday, 12 April 2012 7:30 pm
Place : Swarthmore, Woodhouse Square LS3 1AD
To view a map showing the location of this event, please click on this icon :Show in Google map 
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Reminder : Little Woodhouse Community Forum

The next Little Woodhouse Community Forum will take place at 7pm tomorrow at the Civic Hall.

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