Aireborough is a hidden place; it’s there, you can be in it, but not everyone will know where they are ! We asked Yeadon Writers to write about Aireborough for the Festival we had earlier in 2015, in order to try an capture the character of the area. This was a piece by Kim Bridges.
Some years ago I worked at a school in Leeds, where the caretaker told me the following story. Because she lived in the school bungalow she would have to move when the time came to retire, and periodically she had to fill in forms sent to her by the council regarding her job and future. One of the questions she was asked was: Where do you want to move to when you retire?
“I always put ‘Aireborough’, she told me. “I haven’t got a clue where it is but I think it sounds lovely”.
We laughed, and I had to admit that I didn’t know where it was either (although, unlike her, I am not Leeds born and bred!)
A few years later my husband and I moved house, and came to live in Guiseley. At some point it dawned on me where we were – I think the Aireborough Leisure Centre was a fairly large clue – and I thought back to my friend’s words. Fancy that, I was living in Aireborough !
Over time we got to know the local area quite well.
We often walk up to Ilkley Moor, passing through the pretty village of Hawskworth en route. We always admire the delightful houses and cottages, but wish for the sake of the inhabitants that it didn’t have such a busy road running through it.
High Royds was still a hospital when we moved here. We felt it was a shame when it was heavily developed with so much new housing. The arrival of hundreds of new families has placed a noticeable strain on the roads in the area.
Rawdon is a place I tend to drive through when heading elsewhere, although I have stopped at the lovely gift shop Rustle and Co, and have visited the Billing.
Yeadon is dominated by the airport and I think we are fortunate to have it so nearby. Being a bit of a plane spotter I throughly enjoy sitting on the rocks at Otley Chevin under the flight path as the planes take off and land.
Yeadon Town Hall, is an important landmark too, as it is where we Yeadon Writers, meet to share our scribblings.
Guiseley has become home, and if Yeadon is dominated by the airport, Guiseley is dominated by Morrisons, a place I find myself ‘popping into’ more often than I care to admit.
Guiseley has a wonderful rail service which can get us to the centre of Leeds in thirteen minutes flat, and the off-peak fare is still cheaper than car parking in the City. We have an abundance of nail bars and charity shops, although some gems can be found such as Karen’s the Florist on Oxford Road, and The Bridal Boutique on Otley Road.
The retail parks are very handy, but naturally attract shoppers from further afield. Over-development in and around Guiseley and the growth of these two retail parks has brought a huge volume of traffic which has resulted in regularly gridlocked roads and long queues.
Aireborough has many positive features too, including good schools, areas of interest, beauty spots,, a popular and well-equipped leisure centre, a theatre and library – not forgetting the friendly local people.
I think Aireborough Festival is an excellent idea and my friend, who liked the sound of Aireborough would be informed and enlightened about the area from such an extensive programme of events.
We’ll be using this and other photographs and descriptions of Aireborough in the evidence and development of the Neighourhood Plan. So if you want to send us your views, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org