In a testament to the fusion of art, heritage, and flood protection, acclaimed artist James Mayle, backed by funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, has adorned the doors of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme’s control buildings with vibrant murals. Serving as both a celebration of local heritage and wildlife, the murals also play a crucial role in deterring vandalism, injecting life and colour into the surroundings.
The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, a pioneering initiative safeguarding 22,000 jobs, 500 businesses, and 3,000 residential properties in Leeds since its inception in 2017, revolves around two cutting-edge moveable weirs located at Crown Point and Knostrop. These weirs, activated nine times since their installation, stand ready to counteract the impact of heavy rainfall, with operations managed through control rooms at each site. Regrettably, the control room doors have become frequent targets for vandals.
Securing full funding for this project through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Leeds City Council collaborated with The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Their joint efforts commissioned a mural artist to transform the doors of the Crown Point and Knostrop control buildings into bespoke artistic expressions.
The murals showcase Leeds’ historical mills and feature depictions of local wildlife, including ducks, pike, and eels found in the river. Emphasizing the scheme’s commitment to protecting wildlife, the design incorporates fish and eel passes. Beyond aesthetics, the artwork aims to discourage future vandalism, potentially alleviating the council’s previous expenditures on door reinstatements.
Executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure, Councillor Helen Hayden, said; “These murals showcase how we can work creatively to deter vandals from leaving anti-social graffiti around our city. By supporting artists to create stunning work like this, we brighten up previously unremarkable spaces, we shine a light on an important flood scheme that protects us, as well as including a nod to our city’s past and the animals that also call it home.
“The murals can be considered a part of the Leeds Street Art Trail – any residents who make the trip out to Knostrop could use the towpaths that were maintained as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation scheme – I look forward to going to see them for myself.”