Bulldozers set to demolish Leeds school

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Bulldozers are set to move in on a former primary school in Leeds after council bosses rejected a last-ditch bid to buy the building and turn it into a community hub.

Initial demolition work at the former Royal Park Primary School could start as early as December 16, after a new proposal submitted by a social enterprise was branded “disappointing” and not “robust” enough.

The site in Hyde Park has been a source of debate for almost a decade. A group of campaigners even took over part of the building briefly in 2009, after thieves stripped the roof of lead. The council was forced to go to court to evict the occupiers.

The Royal Park Community Consortium was eventually formed and put together an initial business plan with the help of architects.

However a bid for major funding failed and, following a meeting in July this year, council bosses gave the consortium another three months to come up with a viable business plan.

Sue Buckle, spokeswoman for the Royal Park Community Consortium, said: “We heard that demolition was imminent and lobbied for a reprieve. We got a three month window to find an alternative plan.

“This happened when a businessman offered to step in, take on a 99 year lease, and renovate the building for a mixture of community and local commercial use.

“Sadly, asset management have failed to come to an agreement with Cubic Acquisitions and demolition is due to start. This is a bitter blow for all the people who have given so much time and money, and much of their lives, to the campaign to save the Royal Park building.”

Coun Richard Lewis, executive member for development and the economy at Leeds City Council told the YEP: “We made it very clear at executive board in July that we were giving one last chance for someone to bring forward workable proposals acceptable to the Council for this site.

“Despite lengthy discussions it has not been possible to reach an agreement as no proposals were brought with either a reasonable timescale or certainty.

He added: “We will temporarily grass over the area with a view to creating a permanent green space on the site, which I am sure will be of great benefit to an area where there is currently very little space of this kind.”

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