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Leeds school faces demolition

Campaigners occupied the former Royal Park Primary School in 2009

Campaigners occupied the former Royal Park Primary School in 2009

A Victorian Leeds school is set to face the wrecking ball next week.

The bulldozers are likely to move on to the former Royal Park Primary School, in Hyde Park, on Monday.

The school has stood empty for almost a decade and during that time campaigners fought to transform it into a community hub.

They even occupied the site in 2009 in protest against the former school’s deteriorating condition before they were evicted by Leeds City Council.

A plan to transform the building and turn it into a centre for the community was also drawn up by members of the The Royal Park Community Consortium (RPCC).

Last month campaigners pleaded with council bosses to give them a three-month reprieve to enable them to draw up a stronger bid to secure the building’s future.

Campaigner Sue Buckle said: “If it does get knocked down the community will be devastated and in mourning.

“It is not something that will be forgotten.

“We feel like we are running out of miracles.

“If it is knocked down the area will be grassed over and kept as a children’s play area but our feeling is that would be no substitute for the loss of a beautiful building.

“It is just something too awful to contemplate.”

Councillor Neil Walshaw (Lab, Headingley) praised the efforts of campaigners and said: “They have stuck at this through thick and thin.

“The fundamental problem is the sheer amount of money that is needed to be spent and it could be anywhere between £2m and £3.5m.

“Some people are disappointed and rightly so.

“If we can’t have a great community hub then it should be transformed into a park.”

Leeds City Council officers look set to spend £146,214 to demolish the building.

A recent report to the authority said: “If the demolition does not proceed, the property will remain at risk from break-ins, theft, vandalism, anti-social behaviour and arson attack.” WHAT DO YOU THINK? Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you

 

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