£28m Leeds school is a ‘place maker’

Pupils at the Ruth Gorse Academy's current Morley site will eventually move to a �28m building in Black Bull Street.
Pupils at the Ruth Gorse Academy's current Morley site will eventually move to a �28m building in Black Bull Street.
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Planning chiefs will this week be presented with a new detailed blueprint for a £28m free school in the south of Leeds which is expected to become the biggest in the country - and will help fill a massive gap in secondary school places.

The Ruth Gorse Academy opened in September on the Morley Academy site after Ministers approved the plans. The school is set to move into a purpose built home in Black Bull Street in 2016, subject to planning permission.

It will eventually have 1,580 pupils and 150 staff, and it is hoped the development could also drive the regeneration of the south of the city centre.

The new school building will sit on the former Yorkshire Chemicals site in a growing “educational cluster” on the emerging South Bank of the city, surrounded by the nearby Leeds City College Printworks Campus and Leeds College of Building.

A meeting of a Leeds City Council planning panel at Leeds Civic Hall this Thursday will hear new details of the plans, ahead of the full planning application being heard next month. A report to the panel says: “There will be exponential growth in the secondary sector in Leeds over the next seven years. Without this free school it is forecast that there would be a shortfall of approximately 1,250 secondary places in September 2018/19.”

The report adds the site “could have an important strategic role in linking the city centre core, the railway station and the future City Centre Park to visitor attractions, convenience shops, food and drink, homes and workplace at Leeds Dock”.

It says: “The scheme has potential to provide much needed educational facilities for the existing residential community in inner city Leeds and the city centre. The scheme also has strong potential to contribute to the place-making of the South Bank, by bringing a long vacant site into active use”.

Edward Ziff, Chairman and CEO Town Centre Securities, in his Office overlooking Leeds.   18 March 2013.
Picture Bruce Rollinson

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