Street Lane and Oakwood came to a standstill as Ed Sheeran rocked Roundhay Park. Alongside support acts The Darkness and Lewis Capaldi, the Halifax-born singer-songwriter thrilled over 150,000 rain-soaked fans across two highly anticipated back-to-back concerts. Days later, on the closing night of the Divide Tour, the 28 year-old made a shock announcement, revealing the tour may be his last as he moves into semi-retirement; making his Leeds homecoming all the more historic.
As legions of fans flocked to join vast waiting lists for £82.50 tickets, Leeds City Council was compelled to increase the capacity of Roundhay Park once again to just shy of 80,000. Competing with the stadiums, the new capacity puts the park up there as one of UK’s largest outdoor concert venues, paving the way for more superstar appearances to come. North Leeds concert goers can expect a return to the heydays of the 1980s and 1990s, when the grounds played host to legends including The Rolling Stones, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.
After all the traffic mayhem in the name of Ed, as streets from Princes Avenue to Wetherby Road were forced to closed, consultation is underway as Leeds City Council seeks to introduce bus priority measures on key routes into the city.
Expanding on the £20 million renovation project currently transforming The Headrow, the council is seeking to make North Leeds roads more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians. Discussed routes include Oakwood and Roundhay to Leeds via Harehills and St James’s Hospital. It hopes the next phase of Connecting Leeds will minimise delays and disruption, aiming to double bus journeys into the city, yet the inevitable repercussions for local motorists remains unclear.
MOANING AND GRÖNING
It’s not only the roads that have been closing, as local major high street retailers shut their doors. As part of a planned closure of 140 sites across the UK, Santander recently called time on its Street Lane branch. Local residents aren’t the only ones affected, as 1,270 workers are set to lose their jobs, as the banking giant responds to changes in how customers carry out their banking.
A pair of popular Oakwood cafés could also be forced to close, as Leeds City Council issues ultimatums on unsanctioned outside seating areas. Vegan eatery Grön Kafe and neighbouring bar restaurant Hessian have both been served notices to remove their patios, after retrospective planning permission was denied, deeming it harmful to the appearance of Oakwood’s conservation area.
The cafes, which installed the structures last year to attract sunshine-loving diners, have argued that the al fresco dining opportunities have increased footfall and improved accessibility for disabled diners. Over 1,000 residents have so far backed a joint campaign to allow the outdoor seating to remain.
Hessian’s owner, Will Pugh, maintained that the conservative measures were harming Oakwood’s small businesses: “We have just had Ed Sheeran and the high street was buzzing. It seems so contradictory to hurt independents. I employ around 25 members of staff, but if we lose this outside area, I would have to consider closing my business.”
Grön Kafe, the Scandi-inspired venture owned by Masterchef finalist Matt Healy, hopes to extend its opening hours until 10pm from Monday to Sunday and alter its alcohol licence, which currently prohibits drinks promotions. Fingers crossed, the drinks offers will soon be flowing, bringing Oakwood residents a welcome shot of ‘hygge’ as winter descends.
Already home to popular drinking spots including Stew & Oyster and North Bar’s Preston, there’s a brand new sports bar set to hit the trendy suburbia of Oakwood. Opening on Roundhay Road, neighbouring the Tesco Superstore, Mr Schnapps Sports Bar promises to be a haven for sporting fanatics.
The popular Rothwell bar, Tobias, has launched a second venue at the top of Roundhay Road. The intimate venue is full of exposed brickwork and retro fittings, the old-school bar serving up a selection of wine, craft beer and local gins, alongside charcuterie and cheese boards. In the evenings, it transforms into a go-to destination for live music, comedy nights and guest DJs.
To soak up the sauce, Bradfordian pizza aficionados, Pizza Loco, are opening up premises at the former District Deli, overlooking the Oakwood clock. Serving up a menu of authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, you can expect age-old Neapolitan methods that make good use of award-winning cured meats and cheeses from deep in the dales.
Whether you’re looking for picnic hampers, pet beds or household baskets, Wickers and Straw has you covered. The new luxury gift retailer, situated opposite The Deep Park, offers wicker and sea-grass products, intricately handcrafted with 100% natural materials. Choose from a selection of beautiful gift baskets and create your own bespoke hamper from the array of items in-store, or bring your own, and your basket will be exquisitely wrapped while you wait.
Local resident Kelly Westerman recently launched her luxury travel brand, Book It List Travel, just doors away from where she began her travel career 20 years ago. Having just recruited two additional staff, the travel agent based in the former pharmacy by Harpos Pizza is hoping to fly Leodiensians to far-flung destinations: “It’s an affluent area, so I can see us selling a broad range of holidays”, said Kelly. “I imagine there will be lots of long-haul – Dubai, Maldives – places like that. I know the area really well and Street Lane is crying out for a good independent”
From Austrialia, MOC Coffee Roastery has recently opened its latest franchise a few doors down from Frydays. A family owned speciality coffee company, the Sydney-based business is spreading its wings, bringing Australian beans to sites across UK. It’s not just coffee – it opens for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, offering an extensive menu in a relaxed environment.
If you’re tempted by MOC’s delicious menu, you’ll love this: We’ve teamed up with MOC Coffee Roastery to offer readers the chance to win afternoon tea for two! Competition closes on 1st November, so act fast if you’re interested!