St Matthews

I recently saw the letter sent to people living on the route of the upcoming Tour de France informing what will happen on July 5 and in the run up. A fair few cyclists will make their way from central Leeds, up Scott Hall Road (welcome to Yorkshire!), along Harrogate Road, to the north of Moortown Corner, across the outer Ring Road and on to Harewood.

The letter mentioned the cyclists would visit Chapel Allerton and Moortown. So I checked the route and if anyone sat outside Sunshine Bakery or The Queen’s Arms in Chapel A sees Chris Froome ride by on July 5, then summat will most definitely be up with t’tour. It doesn’t go through what I would call Chapel Allerton. Maybe others would agree.

The letter must have been referring to council wards (areas) and not places (centres). Scott Hall Road is the boundary between the wards of Chapel Allerton and Moortown.

I can see St Matthew’s church in Chapel A from my street in the Carr Manor estate but I’d struggle to say I live in Chapel Allerton.  And that got me thinking. I’ve lived in my street (Moortown?) for 20 years, and in North Leeds pretty much all my life.

Carr Manor View

I’ve often wondered about the places where I live and how they blend or don’t and how passionate it seems some folk are about what‘s where and what apparently isn’t. So where does Meanwood end and Moortown start? And where actually is Moor Allerton?

Even when I lived in Morley, I apparently didn’t; I lived on the wrong side of the railway; it was Churwell. When I lived in Horsforth it was “only just” as Low Lane was the far boundary. When I was growing up I ‘lived’ in Alwoodley and was constantly told “Alwoodley is to the right of King Lane and you live to the left”. Even if I did spend most of my childhood playing on Adel Moor, I didn’t live in Adel.

So I seem to have lived most of my life “not quite somewhere” and that’s probably the case where I live now.  It doesn’t bother me, it just makes me curious. Even the names blend; Chapeltown, Chapel Allerton, Moor Allerton, Moortown.

So this is a contribution to #cityseriesleeds about how life is in my street and area in North Leeds.

The Carr Manor Estate (the description on this link suggests it’s Meanwood), is a private suburban estate built in the 1950s by S.& N. Shute Ltd. Mostly semi detached, with a few detached and some bungalows, most houses have gardens to the front and back. It was named after Carr Manor, built in the 1870’s and now a judge’s residence. Not many folk know it exists or what is over the high wall half way up Stonegate Road.

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The estate has wide roads and now benefits from a 20 mile an hour traffic calming zone which has vastly improved things.

The original entrances to the estate, which have recently been narrowed as part of the traffic calming, had wide sweeping curves which were perfect for joy riders to enter by, tear round the estate like Grand Theft Auto and then leave, by another wide exit.
The original entrances to the estate, which have recently been narrowed as part of the traffic calming, had wide sweeping curves which were perfect for joy riders to enter by, tear round the estate like Grand Theft Auto and then leave, by another wide exit.

The Carr Manor estate is in the middle of a wider residential area. There is some social housing in the Miles Hills (Scott Hall) and Beck Hills (Meanwood) to the south and across the Ring Road to the north there are 2 more largish social housing estates in the Cranmer Banks and Lingfields (Moor Allerton). Continue further north and it’s more up market in Alwoodley and Adel. To the west in ‘Far’ Headingley and West Park and east towards Shadwell and Roundhay, there is similar private housing.

The estate is bordered by Scott Hall Road to the east, along which the Tour de France will come.
The estate is bordered by Scott Hall Road to the east, along which the Tour de France will come.
Stone Gate Road and 'top fields'
Stone Gate Road and ‘top fields’

Across Stonegate Road and the ‘Top fields’ to the north west is the King Alfred’s estate, David Lloyd leisure centre and the ‘Moortown’ Ring Road with an unwelcoming concrete footbridge leading across to Sainsbury’s and the ‘Moor Allerton’ Shopping Centre.  A relatively new addition of a pelican crossing, 300 yards up the Ring Road towards St John’s church (Moortown or Moor Allerton?), has provided another safe place to cross, although the reduced 40mph speed limit on that part of the Ring Road isn’t adhered to.

Deer can sometimes be seen in the woods at the top of the playing fields and occasionally cross Stonegate Road from the woods adjoining Meanwood Park and also cross the Ring Road towards Adel Moor. Foxes are daily visitors and regularly seen walking down the streets in the daytime.

King Lane borders the estate to the north east. All the surrounding roads, like most main roads in north Leeds, are tree lined and bus routes.

The No. 7 (formerly No. 33)
The No. 7 (formerly No. 33)

The No. 7  bus route also dissects the estate. Buses into town are regular and the service is pretty good with a 15ish minute journey to central Leeds. There are safe places to cross the main roads out of the estate, other than on the King Lane and Scott Hall road junction. If I really wanted to cycle to work, then the Alwoodley to Leeds core cycle route cuts through the estate.

The majority of houses are owner occupied and there is a good ethnic mix and a fair range of young families and older folk. One of my neighbours has lived in his house for 57 years. He’s seen many changes and can remember when he could look from his house straight down to Meanwood as there were no other houses in the way. Some houses have not been looked after and some still have the original windows and double front doors.

Original windows and double doors. Both doors need to be opened to easily enter or leave. Maybe people were thinner in the 1950s!
Original windows and double doors. Both doors need to be opened to easily enter or leave. Maybe people were thinner in the 1950s!

The original owners had a choice of what leaded lights they wanted on their windows, what type of hall window they preferred and if they wanted a garage.

There’s an increasing rental market and like anywhere, rented properties tend to be the ones that aren’t as well kept. However, there are a lot of houses with new extensions which I suppose is indicative of people staying rather than moving elsewhere. Although all houses have drives, they are not wide enough for cars of today and the original garages are generally too small to get a car in. Most people park in the street. Some park on the verges.

Verge

Some folk put stones on the verges to prevent parking, which well annoys the chaps who cut the grass on behalf of the council.

Stones

There also seems to be an increasing trend in paving over front gardens to gain extra off street parking.

In some streets the majority of houses have replaced some or the entire front garden.
In some streets the majority of houses have replaced some or the entire front garden.

Front garden 1

Like many other estates round here, there are ginnels (aka alleyways) between the rows of houses, joining up the estate roads.

Ginnel leading to Scott Hall Road
Ginnel leading to Scott Hall Road
Ginnel from Carr Manor Walk to Carr Manor Grove
Ginnel from Carr Manor Walk to Carr Manor Grove
Ginnel from King Lane to Scott Hall Road
Ginnel from King Lane to Scott Hall Road

It always struck me as odd that a final ginnel allowing access to Stonegate Road is missing. It’s fair to say they could all use some TLC too and a few irresponsible dog owners take liberties.

On the main junctions there are open areas that help sight lines and where kids play out.

Bus stop

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Open space 2

Local amenities are good and there are many small shops within a short walking distance. The Moor Allerton Centre (Sainsbury’s), Meanwood, (Aldi, Asda and Waitrose) and Chapel Allerton (Coop) have larger stores and are within reasonable walking distance or on a bus route. Good schools, a library and Scott Hall sports centre and David Lloyd leisure centre are both walkable and cater for all budgets.

There are plenty of restaurants and bars in Chapel Allerton and Meanwood is on the up now Waitrose has moved in. New bars and restaurants are opening up there too; will it be the next Chapel A? Cottage Road cinema is a medium walk or short bus ride away but still local. There’s plenty of open space and woodland at Stonegate Road, Woodhouse Ridge, Meanwood Park, The Hollies, and to the east at Gledhow Valley.

What could be better? Not much to be fair. I think there will be a problem if everyone paves their front gardens. There is a fair bit of parking on grass verges and there’s a bit too much dog mess.

Crumbling road

Some roads are well overdue a resurface, especially as it’s a recommended cycle route, but generally it’s a convenient place to live and hard to believe it’s just 3.5 miles from central Leeds.

So it’s not Chapel Allerton, it’s probably too far north to really be Meanwood, more likely Moortown and possibly Moor Allerton. Perhaps some and none of these and no doubt the discusssion will continue.

Either way, we like it here, it’s most definitely liveable.

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