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Leeds poised to get official 'gay quarter'

City in northern England looks set to have its LGBT village rubber stamped by council officials
Party in Leeds gay area of The Calls

Leeds, a city in northern England, is poised to have its LGBT village rubber stamped by local authorities.

Proposals by a council-led working group call for the Lower Briggate and The Calls of Leeds districts to be named the city's official 'gay quarter'.

News of the plans come after consultation with businesses in the area and a fact-finding mission to Liverpool where a similar move was made to recognize the city's Stanley Street quarter last year.

A council-led working group in Leeds is now discussing with the LGBT community about how to implement the plans, including cost implications, branding and identity, street signs, design and community safety issues.

According to the Yorkshire Post, it is just one of several plans to support the city's gay community.

As well as planning to hold talks on how to further help with the annual Leeds Pride, the council will set up a steering group to discuss the opening of an LGBT resource centre, which would provide a place for people to socialise, hold meetings and find information on services.

Sarah Carmody, who started the initial campaign for the gay quarter when she was editor of Gay Leeds, has welcomed the news.

'It's a good idea but we need to be careful that it's an inclusive area and not one that segregates anybody,' Carmody told Gay Star News.

'If Leeds is seen as a welcoming and inviting city to everybody then it can only benefit really.'

She added that the moves could also give businesses in the area a much needed boost.

'That area of Leeds does need business investement into it,' Carmody claimed.

A council report claims that 10% of Leeds are lesbian, gay or bisexual and insists that 'respecting difference and embracing diversity isn’t just the right thing to do it also has economic benefits'.

Councillor Stewart Golton, Liberal Democrat group leader who tabled a resolution on the gay quarter in March, said: 'There is a lot we need to improve upon quickly including the regeneration Lower Briggate where most of the gay businesses are.'

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