Leeds building will be a centre of attention

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Residents have got designs on a new community building thanks to a link-up with Leeds Metropolitan University.

New Wortley Community Association has secured a grant from the Big Lottery Fund for a multi-purpose development that will boast a cafe, launderette, shop and meeting room.

Standing alongside the existing New Wortley Community Centre on Tong Road, the building will be based on designs by Leeds Met architecture student Vahagn Mkrtchyan.

Vahagn won a university competition in 2010 to put together a vision of how the proposed development could look.

Now, following the community association’s grant success, more detailed work will be carried out on the scheme by the live project office that has been set up as part of Leeds Met’s school of art, architecture and design.

Construction of the new building is due to get under way in April next year.

Leeds Met architecture course co-leader Simon Warren said: “The project has developed following Vahagn’s winning design for Leeds Met’s in-house design competition in 2010 which saw many students submit ideas for how the community centre could be.

“With the assistance of students undertaking community consultation, the stage two Big Lottery Fund application was submitted in October 2013.

“To learn that it has been a success and we can move forward to the detailed design and construction is extremely exciting for the live project office and our students, but most of all for the centre, its staff, volunteers and the community itself.

“New Wortley Community Centre is a hub of activity and is hugely valued not just by those who run it but by those who use it.

“It’s at the heart of New Wortley and in urgent need of additional space.”

Community association chairman Bryan Bloom said: “The board of New Wortley Community Association is delighted to be working in partnership with Leeds Met school of architecture on this exciting project.

“The new building will provide a much-needed boost to the local community which will improve the quality of life for local residents.”

Leeds Met’s live project office is a fully-functioning architectural consultancy.

It aims to give students the chance to work with real clients, putting an emphasis on schemes that involve “ethical, social and resilient” architecture.

The project office has been founded and managed by Simon and fellow course leader Craig Stott.

The Big Lottery Fund gives money from the National Lottery to community groups and schemes that improve health, education and the environment.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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