The Methleys Home Zone (2002)

Purpose

It was time to launch one of the first Home Zones in the country. The new government had decided to pilot nine Home Zones around the country and the Methleys was chosen as one of them. After the years of Screens on the Wall; On the Streets festivals; the turf; trips to the House of Commons; videos in the Netherlands...now was the time for physical changes...

Details

Of course there wasn't enough money to do everything we would have liked, and there were some disappointments...not everyone in the neighbourhood liked the idea of digging up one end of a street and creating a community garden and that fell through. But, the diggers came in (and we all complained about the disruption) and finally, in May 2002, the Methleys Home Zone was completed, launched and documented on the Methleys own website

The Methleys Home Zone launch. Photograph Lizzie Coombes

Partners

When it came down to it, the partner for this phase of the work was the traditional one - Leeds Highways Department - and they were great! They recognised the work that the neighbourhood had put in and thoroughly enjoyed working with a community that was positive and clear about what it wanted.

We did have to insist that they let us plant the new shrubberies though. Sharing ownership...

Funding

There wasn't an enormous amount of money for the pilot home zones but the local authority were prepared to commit resources to the physical changes. And we managed to get some extra arts lottery money to pay for some creative input in the design

What We Learned

  • It takes time to change things in a community, especially when you are asking people to change their attitudes, their habits, and the way they share their public space. But enjoying the process meant that we didn't feel it was too long
  • The involvement of young people was crucial throughout
  • Partnerships with campaigning groups meant we could change government policy
  • The final partnership with the local authority was really important at a time where disagreements could have scuppered our vision

Where Next?

Another 60 Home Zones were created nationally in the next phase of the project to create living streets. We know...we made another film: Home Zones–The UK experience

Some of the public art in the Methleys created by residents working with artist Ailsa Magnus