Residents oppose new school plans in East Leeds

Gipton Juniors training at Fearnville Leisure Centre. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Gipton Juniors training at Fearnville Leisure Centre. Picture by Tony Johnson.
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Opposition is mounting against plans to build a new secondary school on protected green space in East Leeds which would provide places for 1,200 pupils.

Leeds City Council is consulting on proposals to demolish Fearnville Leisure Centre and redevelop the site to include a new sports facility and a neighbouring free school on a section of Fearnville playing fields.

However, despite the consultation period launching on October 3, residents say they are only just finding out about the scheme, with just one week to go to submit their comments.

Resident Andy Shutt said: “This would be a radical change for the area and it would result in the loss of the fields to the public and also to the sports people who regularly use the facilities that the site offers.”

Residents were set to air their concerns at the final consultation meeting last night.

It is not the first time the fields have been earmarked for development, with both housing and schools mooted in the last two decades.

According to the consultation document, the plans will address the need for school places following “a significant increase” in the birth rate across East Leeds, with a proposed opening date of September 2020.

Andrew Eastwood, the council’s chief officer for learning improvement, said: “Our ongoing engagement with residents and communities around the Fearnville site will help to inform and shape the final proposals.

“As with any proposed change we appreciate there will be both support and concerns and it’s important that both viewpoints are expressed in the consultation responses. This enables full consideration to be given to the impact of the scheme to the local area and the wider city. We believe this proposal presents a great opportunity to develop leisure, education and social provision in the area and we would encourage all interested parties to respond to both consultations on the Leeds City Council website.

“There’s an additional drop in session on October 30 between 5 and 7pm in the area, where officers from the council will be available to talk through the proposal and full details are available on the website.”

Gabby Logan at Leeds Trinity University yesterday. Picture Tony Johnson.

Gabby says goodbye to students at graduation