North Leeds: Campaign group calls for support to continue



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Campaigners fighting to keep the sports facilities at a former Leeds school say their struggle is “far from over” – despite a plan to build houses on the site being put on ice.

As reported in the YEP, developers have withdrawn plans to build 25 homes, eight flats and a convenience store on the site of the playing fields, sports hall and swimming pool at Leeds Girls High School.

However, the action group set up to fight the scheme, Hyde Park Olympic Legacy (HPOL), believes Chartford Homes and Holbeck Land may come back with a revised plan, and are calling for continued support from people in the community.

The group’s aim is to retain the sports facilities for community use, in a bid to tackle the area’s obesity problem and potentially foster the next generation of Olympic heroes.

Campaigner Sue Buckle said: “News that the application to develop the sports facilities has been withdrawn has given some people the impression that the battle to save the playing field, sports hall and swimming pool for local schools and the community is won.

“But the struggle is far from over. The potential developers, who want to build houses on the playing field and demolish the sports hall and swimming pool to build a supermarket, say they intend to submit a new application in the new year.

“HPOL action group is continuing its campaign to bring the site into community use.”

The sports hall, swimming pool and playing fields have not been used since the school’s pupils moved to merge with The Grammar School at Leeds in Alwoodley in September 2008.

Residents have the backing of two local councillors, Coun Martin Hamilton and Coun Neil Walshaw, who believe the area is desperately short of community sporting facilities.

They said: “Whilst the rejection of the application and its withdrawal is a welcome development, we will continue to work with all parties to save these sports facilities for use by all the community.”

Nobody from the developers responded to calls or emails from the YEP yesterday. (Nov 27)