Leeds West, which stretches both North and South of the river Aire, encompasses the four wards of Armley, Kirkstall, Farnley and Wortley, and Bramley and Stanningley. Rachel has lived in the area since 2006, in the ward of Kirkstall, replacing John Battle as Member of Parliament for Leeds West in 2010.
Over these years, the local area has undergone massive changes. Coming out of Leeds on the Kirkstall Road, instead of seeing power plant cooling towers to the left, a regenerated area of restaurants and shops surround a cinema complex, with a golf course behind. A walk along the canal tow-path brings you to a student hall of residence where a brewery used to stand. Down Leeds and Bradford Road, into Bramley, Intake High School has been replaced by Leeds West Academy, with grand plans to transform the school into one of the leading performing arts colleges in the North, having facilities to match. Over Hill Top in Armley, Swallow Hill Community College is another product of recent investment in our children’s education. John has achieved a great deal for the people of Leeds West and still continues to be active in the community he knows and loves!
Things to Do in Leeds West
Leeds West is home to some great attractions and leisure facilities, some excellent pubs and restaurants, and it is surprising just how much is going on across the constituency. If you are new to the area, or just want to try something new, here are some great places to go and things to do:
Leeds has grown from its Early Medieval origins as a collection of villages into the great modern city it is today. However, the different wards across the constituency still retain their own character and community spirit, reflecting their village roots. North of the river, the Kirkstall Abbey and the Forge, about a mile up river, form the historic backdrop to this part of town. The Forge first operated in 1200 and was a working forge until 2003. In the next few years the site will be transformed in to a new community for people to live and work.
The Industrial Revolution caused Leeds to thrive, as manufacturing, particularly within the textile industry, rapidly developed. The history of Leeds as a textile centre is preserved in the wonderful Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills. Loads of different artefacts and carefully preserved machinery can be found at this museum on Canal Road.
Fascinating historic images from across Leeds are available at www.leodis.net.
One of Rachel’s favourite restaurants in Leeds West is the tapas restaurant Viva Cuba. Another great tapas restaurant is Dos Amigos – just opposite the Abbey. Alternatively, the Sheesh Mahal and Bengal Brasserie are excellent curry houses.
Bars and Pubs
You can’t go wrong for real ale in Leeds West! The Abbey Pub down by Newlay Bridge is one of Rachel’s favourites, with live music and pub quizzes throughout the week, and the West End on Abbey Road always has a good range.
As well as all these places that are on the doorstep every day, annual festivals brighten up the year as well! From Bramley Carnival and Kirkstall Festival in the summer, to the Armley Moor Fun Day and wrapping up warm for Bramley Bonfire in Autumn, to carol services in the deep of winter, there’s always plenty going on. The organizers of the I love West Leeds Festival do a great job, and you can find out all sorts about their latest plans year at www.ilovewestleeds.co.uk
For those interested in leisure and fitness, Leeds West offers a number of first-class facilities to the local community, including Armley Leisure Centre, the historic Bramley Baths, and Kirkstall Leisure Centre. There are loads of gyms, sports clubs and activities all over the constituency, so there are plenty of places to keep busy!
It’s surprising just how much green space there is in Leeds West. From the rural fringes of New Farnley to Bramley Fall woods, you can get away from it all without having to travel far. Kirkstall Abbey is a spectacular thing to have on your doorstep, while the canal offers a brilliant route into the city centre by bike.
Leeds West was represented in Parliament by John Battle MP for 23 years, between 1987 and 2010. John decided to stand down at the last election, after a long and successful career. In his time as MP for Leeds West he assisted the Labour party in reaching many national achievements while continuously fighting for the good of the constituency and city as a whole.