A street improvement initiative aimed at enhancing the well-being and community connectivity of residents in the Recreations area of Holbeck is proving to be impactful.

Ingram Road Primary School students now benefit from the alterations, particularly with the installation of a new pedestrian crossing outside their school. The comprehensive enhancements to the built environment, amounting to £900,000 in expenditure, encompass various transformations.

These include:

  1. Implementation of a new pedestrian school crossing.
  2. Widening of 14 sections of footpaths.
  3. Enhancement of green spaces through the addition of five new grassed areas.
  4. Planting of 28 trees.
  5. Introduction of traffic calming measures, involving the closure of ten through roads at one end and the creation of three one-way road systems.
  6. Construction of 425 meters of segregated cycle lanes in the residential area, connecting a section of the city centre to the Elland Rd cycle scheme.

The alterations cover several streets surrounding Ingram Road Primary School, such as Brown Lane East, Cleveleys Avenue, Crosby Road, and the Recreations themselves. The anticipated outcomes include a reduction in car usage and air pollution, encouraging residents of the Recreations, one of Leeds’ most deprived areas, to adopt more active lifestyles by walking or cycling.

The scheme is designed not only to improve safety on local streets but also to foster a stronger sense of community, breaking the pattern of short-term tenancies. By creating safer and more appealing areas for children to play and residents to socialize, the initiative aims to enhance the community spirit.

In 2020, Ingram Road Primary School participated in the Leeds School Streets initiative, converting roads outside schools into pedestrian and cyclist-only zones at specific times. The ongoing involvement in this scheme, coupled with additional measures, contributes to road safety, improved air quality, and reduced congestion related to school activities.

Furthermore, the project facilitates easier access to employment and education opportunities in the city centre by integrating with major infrastructure projects such as the Elland Road cycle superhighway and the recently completed Ingram Distributor cycling and walking route.

Over the past five years, the project has been complemented by a program of repairs and upgrades to hundreds of homes in the neighborhood, totaling more than £8.4m. This includes measures such as providing new windows, roofs, doors, and improved external wall insulation.

The Recreations project commenced in April 2022 and was successfully completed in September 2022.

Sarah Millard, headteacher, Ingram Road Primary School, said; “The council engaged with the local community about the changes they could make to the area. They have listened to the outcomes, as residents wanted the traffic calmed, safer areas to play and greener areas – the scheme has delivered all of these. Parents really like the zebra crossing facility – they’d waited a long time for it and previously thought the road was dangerous to cross due to the width of the road and speeding vehicles.

“The pupils have commented they’ve liked being able to play safely in the streets which have been closed off to through traffic. The introduction of parking for parents/carers is better and the vast majority now keep clear of the zebra zigzags. And all the new trees planted make the area look softer – very much improved.”

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for infrastructure and sustainable development, said; “I was hugely excited to visit the area as this scheme is a great example of our efforts to work to understand the issues that undermine the safety of Leeds’s roads and develop solutions to eliminate road deaths and serious injury.

“The residents and especially the children in the Recreations I know love the changes, with more greenery on their doorsteps and attractive new spaces where they can meet and interact with their neighbours. We want to give people of all ages an environment where they feel relaxed and happy about doing things – like walking and cycling – that will help their health and wellbeing.

“By reducing the dominance of motorised traffic in the area we’re moving towards making Leeds a city where you don’t need to use a car. This project highlights you can work together with residents by improving their streets to achieve mutual benefit. It supports our Leeds Vision Zero ambition that by 2040 no one will be killed or suffer serious injuries on Leeds roads.”