Reporter 414, 9 February 1998

Share in the Vision for Leeds

The University has been closely involved in proposals for the future development of Leeds which are now being put to the people in a city-wide survey.

A questionnaire is currently being sent to all Leeds addresses to seek feedback on ‘Vision for Leeds’, a ten-year plan drafted by the Leeds Initiative. This partnership body of organisations, businesses and voluntary groups, held a series of workshops involving some 600 people last year. The resulting Vision aims to promote the creation of opportunities for Leeds people and improvement of the area as a whole.

Following indications from the Government that it will support local strategies for regeneration – provided they are agreed by all key stakeholders – the partnership consulted a wide a range of interest groups as possible.

Residents are now being asked to comment on four key themes: promoting Leeds as an economic competitor on the global scene; providing opportunities for people to maximise their potential; developing better neighbourhoods and confident communities; and ensuring strategies are sustainable.

Academics are adding their expertise to the project in many ways. As a member of the transport task group, Peter Bonsall of the Institute for Transport Studies will help monitor the Leeds Transport Strategy. John Hillard of the Business School has attended discussions on making Leeds a city of European standing and developing partnerships between business and higher education.

The City and Regional Office (CRO) has been heavily involved in the Vision’s ‘making the most of people’ theme. CRO head Keith Burnley said: “The people of Leeds, including the staff and students of the University, are its greatest asset,” says keith. “The University as an international centre for research and teaching of the highest quality is a vital part of the future for Leeds.”

Suggestions in the Vision to build on the already significant role of the University include further collaboration with industry, providing support services to local firms through the Business School, attracting and retaining skilled young people and giving greater emphasis to international links.

The Leeds Initiative has already been pivotal to significant achievements such as bringing the Royal Armouries to Leeds, raising the city’s commercial profile and bringing regeneration programmes to the inner city.

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