Leeds estate residents push back private ‘mega-block’ development

Leeds Socialist Party members have been campaigning alongside the Little London Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) against a ‘mega-block’ proposed for this community on the outskirts of Leeds city centre.
We spoke to Steve Skinner, chair of Little London TRA, about the recent victory the campaign won in getting the development knocked back at a Leeds City Council planning meeting.
Little London, Leeds, photo Mtaylor848

Little London, Leeds, photo Mtaylor848   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

What are the proposals and why do local residents oppose them?

Steve: The proposals were for a 17-storey private apartment block on council land at the heart of our estate. We certainly need more homes here as many people in Little London are living in tremendously cramped conditions.

But the flats aren’t for us – only 12.5% are deemed ‘affordable’. Anyway, ‘affordable’ actually means 80% of the city centre market rate which is still unaffordable for most people living around here.

Apart from this, Little London is a densely populated estate with few facilities – particularly green space where people can relax and children can play. Wherever you go you see children trying to play games on tiny stretches of land or in corridors.

What campaigning took place against these proposals?

We’ve petitioned, lobbied councillors, held packed meetings and protest events. The best thing about the campaigning work is that it has brought people together from so many different backgrounds – black, white, Kurdish, East European.

Where does the campaign go from here?

Hopefully, this campaigning work has now paid off! At the panel meeting where the developers presented their case they got an absolute drubbing. They might be back at some stage, but if we keep up the pressure, it might not be worth their while.

In the meantime we’ll keep campaigning around this and other issues – fire safety, rent levels, benefits and everything else. Then, if the developers do return, we’ll certainly be ready for them!