Seacroft from Fearnville
Seacroft shown within West Yorkshire
|Population||17,725 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan borough||City of Leeds|
|Metropolitan county||West Yorkshire|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|UK Parliament||Leeds East|
Seacroft is an outer-city suburb/township consisting mainly of council estate housing covering an extensive area of east Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Leeds city centre and lies in the LS14 Leeds postcode area. The area's population is 18,000 and includes one of the largest council estates in the country. The name is often used as a catch-all for Seacroft and the neighbouring areas of Whinmoor and Swarcliffe, other large east Leeds council estates which merge into each other.
Seacroft is Yorkshire's second largest council estate, after Bransholme in Kingston upon Hull. Being so large it has often been referred to as a town. The original vision, envisaged by the council was that it would be a 'Town within the City Limits', and the Seacroft Civic Centre, was often referred to as the 'Seacroft Town Centre'.
- 1 The Green
- 2 History
- 3 Architecture
- 4 Seacroft Hospital
- 5 Industry
- 6 Education
- 7 Politics
- 8 Local media
- 9 Reputation
- 10 Transport
- 11 Distances to nearby places of significance
- 12 Location grid
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Seacroft was at one time a small village between Leeds and York. The village green, known as "The Green" still exists, and is one of the oldest in the country with the stretch of land being mentioned in the Domesday Book. It has the pub, the Cricketers Arms on the North side and the parish Church (St James, built 1845, architect T Hellyer) on the South side. John Wesley preached on The Green, and as a result a Wesleyan Chapel (Methodist Church) was built close by. Seacroft Green has an active resident's association.
Seacroft village is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086). Evidence of much earlier inhabitation was found during construction of the estate in the 1950s. A stone axe dating from the Neolithic age (3500-2100BC) was found on Kentmere Avenue. In addition, two silver Roman coins were found on The Green in the 1850s.
Seacroft Village is the original part of Seacroft, around The Green and Cricketers Arms (pictured above), and is often referred to today. Seacroft Hall was built in the 17th century by the Shiletto family incorporating extensive landscaping and parkland. Despite being a listed building the hall was demolished in the 1950s The original entrance lodge still stands on York Road with Parklands School on South Parkway now occupying the location of the hall. There is one shop in the area that would have originally been Seacroft Village, a small village off licence, which has been built since the building of the estate.
Seacroft Grange was built in 1627 for the Tottie family and is also known as Tottie Hall. It is a grade II listed building, along with its service buildings. Although the English Heritage record says it was rebuilt in 1837 other sources record the building as original, noting that in 1837 the new tenant John Wilson renamed it to Seacroft Grange and set his coat of arms over the door. The building included a celebrated late 17th century staircase thought to have been brought from Austhorpe Hall which has been removed by the council for safe keeping as the Grange is currently empty and boarded up. In December 2008 plans were under discussion to re-use it as a residential home, and plans were submitted in March 2009.
See also The Seacroft Village Preservation Society.
There is an old non-operating windmill, that pre-dates the estate, which has been incorporated into a hotel (now known as the Ramada Leeds North).
Satellite Town Within The City Boundary
The Village developed slowly over the centuries, and saw very little change until the post war years. Work on the estate began in the 1950s. Many of the older houses on the estate are more traditional red-brick semis built around the Beechwood area, to the North of the estate. In the 1960s many prefabricated housing and high rise flats were constructed on the estate. Two main roads were built through the estate, these being North Parkway and South Parkway. North Parkway was built as a dual carriageway, in a similar way as had been done to Oak Tree Drive, Coldcotes Drive and Gipton Approach in neighbouring Gipton.
In 1934, Leeds City Council bought 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) for municipal housing and after World War II the majority of houses and blocks of flats were built. The council had planned for Seacroft to be a "satellite town within the city boundary"
In addition to this vision, other areas surrounding Seacroft were built using the same principle, in the 1960s work started on building the Swarcliffe and Stanks areas and in the 1970s work began on building Whinmoor, none of these were however as large or ambitious as Seacroft, the intention being that these areas will use many of the amenities built along with the Seacroft Estate such as the Civic Centre and Seacroft's secondary schools. As such amenities were kept to a minimum in Swarcliffe and Whinmoor, with the estates only having small local shops, public houses and primary schools. Seacroft also has the main central bus interchange for North East Leeds, although the nearest railway station is in Cross Gates.
Seacroft Civic Centre
The 1960s also saw the construction of the Seacroft Civic Centre, which was at the time a novel way of building an outdoor purpose built town centre. The Civic Centre had a Grandways supermarket and a Woolworths Group as well as many other smaller shops, banks, pubs and a library. In the 1990s it had become apparent that the condition of the Civic Centre had deteriorated significantly in the 30 years since its construction. Talks were held with Leeds City Council, and Tesco were found as the preferred bidder to rebuild the Seacroft Civic Centre.
Seacroft Green Shopping Centre
In 1999, work began clearing the site and in the 2000s (decade) the new 'Seacroft Green Shopping Centre' opened. The Tesco was cited at the time to be the largest supermarket in Europe, a claim which may not have been true. It was however still an enormous supermarket spread over two levels (the second being a large mezzanine level, which was built a few years after the Tesco store had opened to give more space within the store). The car park was also enlarged and other shop units were built along the side of the supermarket, making the centre a crescent shape. The huge supermarket as well as the other shops promised to create hundreds more jobs then would be lost through the loss of trade in the Civic Centre, this was no doubt one factor which made the redevelopment favourable with many Seacroft residents.
The Seacroft Green Shopping Centre is also the main transport interchange in Seacroft, with the main bus station for Seacroft and the surrounding areas being centred there. From here buses run out through the estate as well as to the city centre, Wetherby and Harrogate. Seacroft bus station has five stands and an average daily footfall of 2,687. (See Transport)
The centre was not entirely popular with the local residents with many saying they had lost their town centre to a Tesco supermarket. To an extent this is true, although there are shops besides Tesco, they are far fewer than there was, the precinct area has been lost, the pubs in the centre have been lost and there are no offices. Until the building of the new centre, and since the closure of Grandways, it was said that Seacroft suffered from 'food poverty' and fresh produce could not be bought on the estate. This was probably not true as there was still a Co-op on South Parkway.
The rebuilding of the Civic Centre did not alter the deprivation on the estate. Throughout the 2000s (decade), the condition of many of the houses on the estate deteriorated, particularly amongst the prefabricated housing to the South West of the estate. Many houses were vacated and either condition or lack of demand dictated that the council boarded them up. The estate's high rise flats are seen as a refuge as they are harder to break into and in better condition than the houses, as such they have largely been allocated to older residents. Some (including Queensview) have become sheltered housing.
Regular bus services mean many residents use amenities in Leeds city centre, Cross Gates and Wetherby. The Cross Gates Centre (formerly Arndale Centre) provides many high street shops which Seacroft lacks, while Wetherby's many pubs make it an alternative destination for evening entertainment.
Seacroft has a variety of styles of architecture. The area surrounding the green has many old buildings, dating back to the 18th century and before. The estate also shows a variety of different styles employed by Leeds City Council for the duration of the estates construction. The earlier houses dating back to the 1950s are red brick traditional terraces and semis. In the late 1960s and 1970s the prefabricated housing built towards the South West of the estate was constructed. The build quality of these houses was considerably poor and most are now uninhabited. The older council houses were generally built to a higher quality and are still in good condition. The brutalist Seacroft Civic Centre stood until its demolition in 1999, when it was replaced by the Seacroft Green Shopping Centre, which is of a fairly standard design for a large supermarket and purpose built shops. There are also many highrise blocks of flats around the estate, mainly near to the Shopping Centre, towards the bottom of South Parkway and Beechwood Avenue, around the Ramshead area and in the Bogart Hill area.
Religious buildings include the stone-built St James's Parish Church (C of E, 1845), a brick Wesleyan Chapel (1874) a brick Congregational Church (1951) and a brick Roman Catholic Church, Our Lady of Good Counsel (1954).
Seacroft Hospital is Leeds' third largest hospital, significantly smaller than the Leeds General Infirmary and St James' University Hospital. Situated in between Seacroft and Killingbeck, opposite the former Killingbeck Isolation Hospital, the hospital is accessible along the A64 York Road. Services have been moved from Seacroft Hospital to other hospitals around Leeds. Many of the buildings are in a poor state of repair by the health authority in keeping with its policy to concentrate all services at the Leeds General Infirmary and St James hospitals and is considering selling off the older parts of the hospital for redevelopment.
There is a small industrial estate in Seacroft on Limewood Approach. On this Cable and Wireless had a depot there for many years, but it closed in 2008. Seacroft Waste Sorting Facility is based there, Leeds City Council have a major depot there and Transco operated a small facility on the estate until 2008. There are large factories in nearby Whinmoor where Agfa and Unilever are based.
The primary schools in Seacroft are:
- Beechwood Primary School, Kentmere Avenue LS14
- Grange Farm Primary School , Bancroft Rise LS14 1AX
- Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Primary School, Pigeon Cote Road LS14 1EP
- Parklands Primary School , Dufton Approach LS14 6ED
- Seacroft Grange Primary School, Moresdale Lane, LS14 6JR
Leeds East Academy is a coeducational school that was established from Parkland Girls' High School (built 1954) on South Parkway. It was the last single-sex state school in Leeds before closure. Leeds East Academy has now relocated to new buildings on the same site.
The main secondary school in Seacroft was the Foxwood School, which became an adult education centre, the East Leeds Family Learning Centre, but was demolished in 2009. The school was used as 'San Quentin High' in The Beiderbecke Affair. The buildings were completed in 1962 and are a complex of buildings set in a square with a central courtyard. The main building was a six storey tower block. Notable former pupils include Andrew Edge (musician) and the Right Honourable Colin Burgon (Labour Party MP for Elmet which includes Wetherby, Garforth, Cross Gates and Swarcliffe). Burgon himself is however from Gipton.
See Leodis Photograph for a picture of the school when new.
Seacroft falls in the Seacroft and Killingbeck ward for the Leeds City Council local elections. As of 2014 it has 3 Labour councillors. Seacroft is also in the Leeds East Constituency, which is represented by Labour MP Richard Burgon. Other estates on the fringes of Leeds in the Seacroft area come under Elmet which is also a Labour Stronghold and represented by former Foxwood School history teacher Colin Burgon, however there is a proposal to alter the boundaries, bringing these areas in with Seacroft and focusing Elmet on Wetherby, Garforth and Rothwell.
The results of the 2014 local elections for the Seacroft and Killingbeck Ward were as follows:
- 1st - Brian Selby (Lab Co-op) 2,927
- 2nd - Dorothy Flynn (Con) 628
- 3rd - Louise Richardson (Green) 617
- 4th - Joanne Binns (Lib Dem) 311
The local newspaper for Seacroft is the Yorkshire Evening Post, however the Wetherby News is also sold in the area (although its news coverage generally stops after the Shadwell and Whinmoor areas). The local BBC radio station is BBC Radio Leeds, there are many other Leeds radio stations, however East Leeds FM deals specifically with Seacroft and surrounding areas. Neighbouring areas such as Whinmoor are often covered in Wetherby's Tempo FM.
Seacroft has a poor reputation across Leeds, a large section of housing is council owned and jobs tend to be low paid casual or manual work. Many of the houses, particularly prefabricated housing around South Parkway have boarded up and beyond any future habitation. This is due to a multi-million pound city re-development scheme whose earlier progress can be seen in the similar estates around the Coal Road area. The area's poor reputation has been focused on by journalist Donal MacIntyre. Neighbouring Gipton also shares this poor reputation. 85.49% of occupied houses in Seacroft fall within the Band A council tax rate (the lowest based on house values).
Recorded Crime Statistics
Below is a table from West Yorkshire Police Data, detailing crime in LS14 from 2003.
|Recorded Crime||Number||Per 1000|
|All Reported Crime||3375||190.4|
Seacroft's Seacroft bus station was rebuilt as part of the Seacroft Green Shopping Centre. The bus station has five drive-in-reverse-out stands and a daily footfall of 2,687. The closest railway station is Cross Gates, this has services to Leeds, Garforth, Bradford Interchange, Halifax, York, Hull and Scarborough.
Proposed Seacroft bypass
It has long been noted since the 1960s that the Ring Road creates a social barrier between Seacroft and Swarcliffe. A proposed bypass to be built from Slaid Hill, past the A58, Barwick Road, the A64 and the A63 has been proposed. This would be built to dual carriageway standards. However no official approval has yet been given to this scheme.
Distances to nearby places of significance
- Cross Gates- 1.3 miles (2.1 km)
- Whinmoor- 1.8 miles (2.9 km)
- Scholes- 2.4 miles (3.9 km)
- Garforth-4.6 miles
- Wetherby- 8.4 miles (13.5 km)
- Castleford- 10.2 miles (16.4 km)
- Leeds Bradford International Airport- 12.1 miles (19.5 km)
- Wakefield- 14.2 mils
- Bradford- 15.4 miles (24.8 km)
- Harrogate- 15.4 miles (24.8 km)
- York- 21.1 miles (34.0 km)
- Office for National Statistics 2001 census for Seacroft ward 17,725 on 29 April 2001
- Leodis photographic archive Seacroft Town Centre, aerial view
- "sc-d2.htm". Home.freeuk.net. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- Leeds Methodist website Seacroft Methodist Church
- Weldrake, David. "Seacroft History - Seacroft Today". Seacrofttoday.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "Seacroft Village". Home.freeuk.com. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "History of the Village: Photographs (surviving buildings)". Seacroft Village Preservation Society. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- "The Grange, The Green, Leeds". Images of England. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- "Coach house and service range to The Grange, The Green, Leeds". Images of England. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- "Seacroft Grange: Built in the 17th century for the Tottie family - what does the future hold?". Leeds History Journal 13. ISSN 1740-5696.
- "Seacroft Grange: Plans welcomed by local residents". Seacrfot Today (Yorkshire Evening Post). 17 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- "Derelict hall finally set to get new lease of life". Yorkshire Evening Post. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- "Seacroft, West Yorkshire | England | United Kingdom (UK) | Parish | Village | Community | Seacroft". Any-village.com. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- "Microsoft Word - 01136-TESCOJobGuarantee-Report.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-12-28.[dead link]
- West Yorkshire Metro. "West Yorkshire Metro | Bus Stations & Stops | Seacroft Bus Station". Wymetro.com. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "Urban Regeneration, Social Inclusion and Large Store Development: The Seacroft Development in Context - Urban Studies". Informaworld.com. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "Hospital left in limbo over fate of buildings - Yorkshire Evening Post". Yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "07/04479/FU/HW" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- David Young Community Academy School Prospectus
- Ofsted Parkland Girls' High School
- "East Leeds Family Learning Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS14 - Contact Details | iWest Yorkshire". Iwestyorkshire.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "a photographic archive of Leeds - Display". Leodis. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- English Elections
- "Housing and the Environment" (PDF). Statistics.leeds.gov.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- "BBC NEWS | UK | The Estate". BBC News. 2008-11-17. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- Estate of the nation. "BBC - Leeds - Places - Estate of the nation". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "Crime" (PDF). Statistics.leeds.gov.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- Metro. "Metro | Bus stations | Seacroft Bus Station". Wymetro.com. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- "a photographic archive of Leeds - Display". Leodis. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Seacroft, West Yorkshire.|
- Seacroft Village Preservation Society website
- BBC News website "The Estate" article about Seacroft
- "Planting the food desert" — Higher Education and Research Opportunities in the U.K.
- Queenswiew Flats In Seacroft — Website Dedicated to Queensview & Seacroft.
- "The Ancient Parish of Whitkirk". GENUKI. Retrieved 2007-10-29. - Seacroft was in this parish
- Pictures of Queensview and Seacroft
- Yorkshire Evening Post, History of Seacroft
- Foxwood School in its final year