Leeds: Hyde Park primary school campaign still seeking £1.8m

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CAMPAIGNERS aiming to transform a former Leeds primary school into a community hub have been given a potential £823,000 boost.

But to get their hands on the cash awarded by the Government-backed Communitybuilders Fund, the Royal Park Community Consortium (RPCC) needs to raise a further £1.8m.

The group – which wants the former Royal Park School in Hyde Park to be retained for community use rather than sold for housing – is now hoping to win further support from the Big Lottery and the European Regional Development Fund.

It is also appealing for public support.

The consortium has drawn up plans to convert the building – empty since the school closed in 2004 – into a hub for meetings, entertainment and business start-ups.

Concern over the building’s state was highlighted in 2009 when a group of protesters occupied it, carrying out repairs and holding events before being evicted by the council.

In January this year the council’s Executive Board backed the group’s proposal on condition it raised £750,000 by August to fund the redevelopment.

The RPCC say the Communitybuilders offer is a landmark in the campaign’s progress but acknowledge there is much more work to be done.

Jake England-Johns, of the campaign, said: “The commitment from Communitybuilders sends a message of hope. We still have some tough hills to climb and will need the support of Leeds City Council more than ever.”

Should the Communitybuilders loan be secured through equivalent funding and support granted by Leeds City Council, the project’s building costs will be covered.

Visit www.royalparkschool.org for more details or go to the weekly Tuesday meetings held at the Burley Lodge Centre from 7pm.

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