Leeds today: cinema, transport, trams, more cinema, arena, PROTEST, libraries, market and the Queen.

Morning! Mike here, after what could have been our summer over the last weekend. Two days of blueish skies and little rain? We won’t see the likes again (at least not before Thursday).

The big – possibly huge – news of the day is the protest march happening in Millenium Square against the closure of the children’s heart unit. The unit closure campaign is starting to pick up pace; general awareness is improving, people are looking at data and asking where the common sense was in assessing the unit, and the political backlash against an already unpopular government is getting even worse. Anyway, if you’d like a primer in how to attend well-ordered demonstrations and carry out protests this one will be the one to attend. 12pm, Millennium Square.

The YEP is also reporting that details of what the Queen and DofE will be doing on their visit to Leeds are being confirmed. HMTheQ will be visiting a building site and popping into a theatre. Be wary of bad traffic in the city centre on Thursday; you may wish to think about not driving. Also, resist the temptation to fling yourself wildly at Her Maj should you find yourself in a position to do so – you won’t get on the news.

LCC has redesigned their website; it looks good (and ticks many accessibility boxes) but we’re still getting broken images from time to time. Not to worry; the reason we were looking was because there will be roadworks on Dewsbury Road – one of the main routes from the centre to points south – for 2 months from the 24nd. Watch your bus times if you use the 2, 3, 202/3 & 117 (and many other numbers, but these will be affected).

Talking of transport, later on today it is expected that £9Bn of rail improvements will be announced, which includes improvements to the East Coast Mainline around Leeds and electrification of the lines between Leeds and Manchester. We look forwards to seeing the detail.

The Wharfdale Observer reports that while the supertram may be finished the trolleybus scheme is very much alive and kicking with £175m of central funding. Everybody seems to be on board with this, and hopefully work will properly start in 2016.

Of course if the trams hadn’t been shut down in 1959 we wouldn’t need all of this. South Leeds Life has a fantastic article by Middleton resident Steve Peacock who has been researching the use of trams in Middleton since before it was part of the City of Leeds. This is fascinating stuff and is well-researched work. Worth reading.

Friends of Leeds Kirkgate Market published their thoughts on moving the Farmer’s market out of Kirkgate and into Briggate. They see it as the death knell for a farmer’s market which is already suffering. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments – I have an opinion on this which will be published on Wednesday afternoon and would love your views.

Blogger Alex in Leeds comes across an interesting pamphlet about Leeds public libraries in the 1920s. It seems that the modern problems involving the libraries (funding, accommodation, reader numbers) are not modern problems after all – at least we don’t have people actively campaigning to stop libraries form opening!

In that vein, York has opened its first reading cafe in Rowntree Gardens. This is the first of its kind in the UK; the Northerner has more details but it is effectively a library in a cafe, mostly self-funded through drink and food sales. Is this something we need to see in Leeds? Could some of the prettier closed libraries be re-opened in this model? Let us know what you think.

Speaking of the Northerner there has been a few images highlighted from submissions so far to their “Northern Landscapes” comp. Do you have any better? Let them know – and enter!

The Cottage Road Cinema is a Leeds institution, and this month sees its 100 birthday. The cinema will be celebrating by getting a blue plaque! There will be an unveiling on the 29th by Kay Mellor with readings from local poet Linda Marshall, and a showing of The Smallest Show on Earth. Congrats, and well done on a nice job keeping open.

It’s not all about the Cottage Road, though: the Hyde Park Picture House will be turning itself into a pub on the 14th August for a showing of Roll Out the Barrel – The British Pub on Film. This collection of short films about the local pub will be accompanied by brews from the Kirkstall Brewery. This will be an excellent evening for beer lovers.

Finally today; LCC has been taking people around the Leeds Arena build (not us). The official LCC photos are here with a story about the seating, and My Life in Leeds has some photos and text as well. It’s looking good – and if we have to have it we may as well embrace it.

That’s it for today! As ever if you have anything you’d like to comment on then please get in touch. We’ve got Elly tomorrow, Tom on Weds and then on Thursday & Friday the Leeds Trinity journalism trainees will be in the chair; I’m really happy to have those guys on board & I hope you are too. Thanks for reading!

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