West Leeds: Fears youngsters could struggle to find school places

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Hundreds of Leeds children could struggle to find school places unless a new school is built, a councillor has claimed.

Coun Chris Townsley warned Horsforth could be heading for a “disaster” unless a new school is built to cope with a rising number of children battling for primary school places after permission was granted to build hundreds of new homes in the area.

More than 500 new homes are set to be built on the former Clariant and Riverside Mills sites just off the Ring Road.

There could be an additional 475 family homes built at Woodside Quarry and over 1,000 new homes at Kirkstall Forge.

Coun Townsley (Lib Dem, Horsforth) fears these developments could result in hundreds of children scrambling for places at local schools.

He said: “With already bursting to the seams schools, new housing sites with planning permission and an exercise to find more housing sites we are heading for disaster unless something is done now to accommodate these children.

“I believe that building on the Clariant site could begin as soon as the New Year, we have no time to lose.”

Horsforth Newlaithes Junior School, on Victoria Crescent, and Featherbank Infant School, on Featherbank Avenue, were recently expanded by Leeds City Council to cope with the city’s rising birth rates.

But there are fears children from the new housing developments could still struggle to get places in local schools.

Coun Townsley added: “It’s a very important issue and one that doesn’t seem to be any urgency about it.

“There are not enough places. Two schools have been extended and we need to look at extending more schools and even build new ones.”

Addressing Coun Townley’s concerns, Coun Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “We appreciate the concerns being raised and are currently in discussion with local schools and councillors.

“We’ll be bringing forward proposals for additional school places once these discussions have concluded.”

Holy Family Catholic Primary teacher Joanne Nicholson with Harry Boutell, Julia Filipiak and Ava Harley.

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