The proposal of a new pedestrian friendly area in Holbeck has sparked discussion from residents.
By Oliver Bradley and George Clarke
West Yorkshire Combined Authority has proposed a scheme to turn areas of central Holbeck into a “car-free” zone. The idea, similar to one put in place in Waltham Forest in London, has been met with mixed opinion, with residents both praising and criticising the plan.
The plan, dubbed “mini-Holland”, the scheme would reduce congestion and make Holbeck a more environmentally friendly area. However, some citizens are worried about the effect a car ban could have on local businesses. Roland, a local shop owner, said he didn’t see how the idea would work in conjunction with his shop. On the current road layout of Holbeck, he said “if you have a car it’s good for you to be able to pack your car”, asking “is there going to be a commercial zone”, if the plan is to go ahead?
Many are behind the idea however, with one woman voicing her irritation with the amount of city worker’s cars parked in the area, saying “they want to get rid of these cars, they’re all workers”.
The basis for this plan, a similar London scheme, has had 30 million pounds worth of funding poured into it, and the WYCA will be hoping for a parallel response from Leeds city council to help put this plan into action.
Ian, a member of local community group ‘Holbeck In Bloom’, discussed his reservations for the plan, focusing on the difficulties it could provide for commuters wanting to get into Leeds City centre. He said, “I don’t know how they could make it a car free zone”, adding “a lot of people park here for free and walk to work” detailing his worry that Holbeck businesses and amenities could lose trade due to the scheme.