the city talking: leeds, a-z 2016 • cllr judith blakeBack
The City Talking
Every year in Leeds we print The City Talking A-Z issue, and every year it’s about more than just a list of what’s going to be good in 2016. It’s about exploring, on a personal level, what people in Leeds are thinking and feeling and getting excited about in their city; not a date-by-date list of events, but a person-by-person exploration of excitement.
It’s something that grows every year, as we find more people to ask, and more people who want to answer. With each edition, it becomes more expansive, more reflective and more immersive, uncovering more of the city than we’d seen or known before.
Cllr Judith Blake
Leader, Leeds City Council
There is such a fantastic momentum building around Leeds and for me 2016 will be all about continuing to drive that forward so the city continues to really make its mark. We all know what an incredible place it is and more and more people outside are finding that out for themselves. We’ve been working hard to maximise the benefits of the international attention achieved by the success of events like the Tour de France and investors are increasingly interested in setting up here. A major priority for me as Council Leader is ensuring people from all areas of the city share the benefits of that success, especially in terms of access to the jobs that investment brings.
This year will see a further series of exciting and headline-grabbing events and openings, from hosting a UK leg of the World Triathlon to the radical refurbishment of Kirkgate Market, recently crowned Britain’s Favourite Market. Leeds will also get the largest John Lewis store outside London when it becomes the first of many new retailers coming here for the first time as Victoria Gate opens in the autumn. I’ve also been very impressed at how local independent businesses have seized opportunities to really take off over the past couple of years: they are a powerful part of our unique offering. Then working with such a major world brand as Burberry as they begin to set up their new factory here is also going to be very exciting.
Leeds clearly has something really quite special and we will use that to help us spread our wings further as we build our bid to be European Capital of Culture 2023. This is something we’re hoping the whole city and in particular our diverse and dynamic communities will embrace and enjoy. That in itself will inevitably attract further interest, investment and ultimately jobs as more and more people discover the potent brew that is Leeds. It’s a superb place to be.
Originally published in The City Talking: Leeds, issue 33