David Parkin on a zombie city

I’M worried.

In depth research recently published in the Daily Star revealed that the first city in the UK to be invaded by zombies would be Leeds.

Yes, according to this newspaper of record, the biggest city in Yorkshire would be the first in the country to be overrun by the undead should we face a terrifying zombie apocalypse.

I know, it’s a concern.

Apparently there are so many graveyards and graves in Leeds compared to its population size it would create thousands of zombies and the first to be taken over by the walking dead.

Although given some of the sights I’ve seen on Briggate recently, I think it might already have been.

Researchers found that the city has 149 cemeteries – which could generate 811,422 zombies.

If you want to avoid getting caught up in the zombie apocalypse then your best bet is to move to the Isles of Scilly off the Cornwall coast as it is seen as the safest haven in the UK with just seven cemeteries which could generate just 98 zombies.

And if you doubt the veracity of the Daily Star’s story, then you only have to look at the very credible source the newspaper used.

“Analysts” at betting site Rant Casino crunched the numbers to come up with the findings because they wanted to discover which cities would be worst affected if a zombie army like the one in hit TV drama ‘The Last of Us’ starring Pedro Pascal attacked Britain.

They analysed the total number of graveyards in 363 UK towns and cities and compared them with population densities and graveyard densities to see how many zombies would roam the streets.

Now, the reason I’m worried is not because of the impending zombie apocalypse.

No, I’m concerned that Leeds City Council’s ongoing “improvements” to roads around the city centre will be hugely confusing for the undead.

So even if they managed to make it through the bus gates and reversed one way systems to City Square to be confronted by that wooden monstrosity constructed around the historic regal statue of the Black Prince, their heads would be swivelling 360 degrees on their bodies and the undead would be in no fit state to mount a proper invasion.


TALKING of the work going on in Leeds city centre, the only possible benefit I can deduce that can be gained from it is that it will improve public transport connections.

But then city councillors were informed last week that roadworks in the city centre are posing a major challenge for bus operators.

Bus firms said congestion due to major work had hit their ability to provide a punctual and reliable service.

Unions said the issue was also affecting operators’ ability to retain drivers.

Leeds City Council said the comments were “disheartening” and that it was not responsible for all roadworks in the city.

The issues were raised at a Leeds City Council scrutiny meeting about the state of bus provision in the city.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, bus company Transdev’s commercial director Paul Turner said congestion had been “killing us” a year ago and that the situation had not improved.

“Probably the number one bit of feedback we have from customers is the reliability and predictability of bus services,” he said.

Arriva said it was considering rerouting some of its services in the city, with the firm’s Dwayne Wells adding it faced a number of challenges.

“The biggest one is punctuality, particularly with the recent infrastructure work in the city centre – Whitehall Road in particular.

“We have taken it upon ourselves to add time into the timetable to account for this congestion. Up to 30 minutes were added onto some journeys and it still isn’t enough unfortunately.”

Andrew Dyer, from Unite, said drivers had received a “decent pay rise” which had improved staff numbers but the congestion and resulting timetable changes were affecting the ability to retain staff.

“The traffic situation in Leeds is ridiculous,” he said.

The council said while major redevelopment work was its responsibility, other work was managed by developers or utility companies.

The council’s executive member for transport, Helen Hayden, said its focus had been on prioritising buses.

“We get heavily criticised for it,” she said.

“We are, especially in the city centre, reframing the roads to give priority to buses, so it’s a bit disheartening to be criticised for doing that by bus operators.”

Gary Bartlett, the council’s chief officer for highways, acknowledged the previous “12 to 18 months” had been “particularly difficult” for drivers and public transport to get around the city.

However, he said some of the major works would soon be “coming to an end”.

What a shambles, but it is no surprise that councillors are attempting to pass the buck and blame some of the congestion on work by developers and utility companies.

I’d hazard a guess that it is the work that the city council is responsible for directly that is causing the vast majority of the issues.

And if this work is not helping commuters in cars, those travelling on trains into Leeds or those on buses, then who is benefiting?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to all the work being completed and Leeds becoming a smooth running city again.

Or the zombie apocalypse, whichever happens first.


SCARBOROUGH and Whitby MP Sir Robert Goodwill is standing down at the next election and he clearly is going to enjoy his time in the House of Commons until then.

During a debate in Parliament the other day veteran Tory Sir Robert told a story about meeting a woman who was “effusive” in her support for Boris Johnson while canvassing on the Eastfield council estate in his patch during the 2019 general election campaign.

“Arriving myself, I asked her why she was so enthusiastic. She said ‘Boris is one of us’. When I politely pointed out he had been to Eton and Oxford she replied ‘You don’t understand, he had a row with his wife and the police came around. That is what happens on this street all the time’.”

Have a great weekend.

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