A disused site in Leeds, which had become notorious as a fly tipping zone, will get a new lease of life later this year as it is redeveloped into a leisure facility.
The abandoned piece of land behind Hovingham Primary School has been unused for several years and had become overgrown, as well as being the focus of much anti-social behaviour and crime such as arson and drug abuse.
Now, thanks to the acquisition of funding by local councillors, the refurbishment of the land is expected to be completed by August, and will include a grassed area for a range of sports.
Tom Martin-Ball, Community Resident and CATCH Chairman (Community Action to Change Harehills), has been working closely with the project for a number of years and said he was delighted to see progress being made.
“After years of hard work and persistence we are now finally at a stage where Harehills will soon have a much needed green space,” he said.
“We appreciate all the support from Leeds City Council, the Police and Groundwork Leeds. We hope to make this area a hub for the whole community and I would like to encourage people to get involved with CATCH to help us make a real difference to young people”
The project started in 2010 when Police Officers from the Gipton & Harehills Neighbourhood Policing Team led a mass clear-up of the land along with local residents, schools and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.
Four years later and the project is finally close to completion, something Chief Inspector Matthew Davison, of the Leeds District Neighbourhood Operations, says will only be beneficial to the local community.
He added: “The Hovingham Project and formation of CATCH are fantastic examples of what we can all do to help make positive changes in the area.
“The project has helped the police foster better relations with young people and the wider community, and will help us reduce anti-social behaviour once the site is fully developed.”
The final funding for the project was secured earlier this year by Gipton and Harehills Councillors Kamila Maqsood, Arif Hussain and Roger Harington.
Speaking on behalf of Leeds City Council, Cllr Kamila Maqsood said: “It’s fantastic that the Hovingham Land Project is now underway which will help to provide a much needed sports facility for Harehills.
“This is a fantastic example of public and private organisations working together with residents for the benefit of the community. It was great to see the work which has already been completed to clear the site and I look forward to the next stage starting soon.”