Crunch meeting over fate of former Leeds school site at centre of 13 year wrangle

The community campaigners. PIC: James Hardisty

The community campaigners. PIC: James Hardisty

1
Have your say

An emergency meeting is to be held next week over the fate of a former Leeds primary school site, which has become the subject of a long running wrangle over its future.

As previously reported, Leeds City Council is currently drawing up plans for a new park and play area on land at Queen’s Road, Hyde Park, which once housed Royal Park School

Campaigners have long battled to secure the land for community use, and two separate groups have recently been applying pressure on the council about what that use should be.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE DEBATE ON THE YEP FACEBOOK PAGE

The groups both want enhanced sports facilities, with one group arguing specifically for a covered sports hall. Both sets of campaigners claim previous council consultation on the issue has been flawed and too narrow.

Council bosses say the available funding of £500,000 - accumulated from two sets of Section 106 developer contribution cash - would not be enough for the latter plan.

A special meeting has now been organised for Thursday, March 9 at 7pm at Woodsley Road Community Centre, to discuss the issue further.

It follows a recent meeting of the Hyde Park Neighbourhood Forum, which heard about the council’s plans for a park and MUGA (multi use games area) on the site, and the general need for sports facilities in the area.

There was also discussion about a simultaneous fight to secure land at nearby Chestnut Avenue - formerly part of the Leeds Girls High School site - for community use.

As previously reported, the Planning Inspectorate has recently thrown out an appeal against the refusal by the council for 262 student flats on the former playing field.

Campaigners have long argued the site is one of the few large green spaces left in inner-city Leeds.

A separate round-the-table meeting was also held last week between campaigners’ representatives and senior council officials.

Campaigner Sue Buckle said: “We all want sports facilities for the community because there are five local primary schools with no proper facilities. Hyde Park is chronically short of sports facilitiies in a densely populated area.”

Local Headingley ward councillor Neil Walshaw said all groups were hoping to “put together an active coalition of interested parties to talk as widely as we can” about securing community sports facilities for the area.

A spokesman for Leeds City Council said: “Councillors met with representatives from the local community last week and we have been working closely with them for some time.

“It is important that discussions between all groups involved continue so together we can work towards meeting the needs raised by the community in the area.”

Update: Five arrests after Bradford to Leeds police chase crash