Leeds today: Best City, trolleybus, LGI, money!!, Clarence Dock, local TV, and a bit of particle physics.

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider this week claimed to have at last found the answer to the great mystery of modern physics with the discovery of a sub-atomic particle resembling the Higgs boson. Forgive my indulgence just this once dear reader if I, Mark O’Brien, venture that this has been – in its own way – a little bit of a world-changing, foundation-shaking week in the City of Leeds too…

But it has indeed been a remarkable few days for the city. Over on The Culture Vulture, council chief executive Tom Riordan wrote this week about the Commission on the Future of Local Government, asking whether Leeds can be the best city in the UK. Whatever that phrase “best city” may mean – Does it mean that a child born in Leeds today will have the opportunity to grow happily and comfortably, to chart their own destiny, and achieve the fulfilment they ultimately desire in their life? Or does it mandate that we have the tallest skyscrapers and a football team that wins the Champions League? Perhaps both, and more? – it is refreshing and exciting to see the ambition of him and so many others in contemplating what is possible for a city like ours…. and indeed for Tom himself to write to readers and respond to their comments.

Leeds is to be the first British city to develop a modern trolleybus system, it was announced yesterday. The Department of Transport has confirmed it will commit significant funding to the scheme that is set to generate 4,000 jobs. The Leeds New Generation Transport project will build routes northwards to Holt Park, as far south as Stourton, as well as a city centre link.

Earlier this week of course, NHS bosses decided to close Leeds General Infirmary’s children’s heart surgery centre in a dramatic blow to parents and campaigners across the region who had battled to keep it open. A petition to keep it gathered over 600,000 signatures. However they intend to continue the fight: leaders of six Yorkshire councils have now come together to urge the government to rethink the decision.

Councils across Yorkshire meanwhile are to be given control of a £1.4bn fund as part of plans to hand power to regions across the UK.

Plans are being unveiled to transform Clarence Dock, the waterside development which has been branded a ‘ghost town’ since it was opened in 2007. Of its 35 retail and restaurant units, 28 are presently unoccupied. Plans made by property firm Allied London aim to establish the site as a hub for the digital and creative industries.

And as another year of students bids a fond farewell to the city this month, Gabriella Swerling writes for the Made In Leeds TV blog about what Leeds University students have to say about the prospect of a local television channel coming to the airwaves in the months ahead.

How fitting that this week Leeds Daily Photo carried a sublime shot of the city’s skyline from on high in Armley, capturing University, Town Hall, and beyond. “I have tweaked this photograph of Leeds, in its natural state it was less dramatic and indeed duller.” The words being spoken and the actions taken beneath the roofs across that skyline in recent days, “dull” could hardly be further from the truth.

In case you haven’t heard (or indeed looked out the window), this weekend’s M-Fest t Harewood House has been cancelled due to, shall we say, inclement conditions. But there’s plenty more on to enjoy, just be sure to carry a brolly. Particular mentions to Unity Day tomorrow and ILWL on Sunday!

Take care, and have a great weekend. You deserve it.

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