Leeds: New school field battle as decision day looms

Demonstrators at the former Leeds Girls' High School site.
Demonstrators at the former Leeds Girls' High School site.
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CAMPAIGNERS have put in an 11th hour bid to try and scupper plans to develop a former school field and sports hall site for housing.

Leeds City Council planning chiefs are today due to debate proposals for the site in Victoria Road, Headingley, which was part of the former Leeds Girls’ High School.

Officers have recommended approval of the plans by Chartford Homes and Holbeck Land for housing and a supermarket. A previous application was refused in December by councillors.

Now members of the South Headingley Community Association have put in a bid to have just the field element listed as a community asset.

If they succeed, the move would prevent development on that part of the land, and allow time for the preparation of a community-led business plan.

Campaigners wanted to preserve the site - owned by the Morley House Trust and the Grammar School at Leeds - for community use.

They have recently fought a long battle to try and reclaim the space for locals. They even put together an extensive dossier of historic data and testimonies from locals, which they said gave them a legitimate claim on the land. However the site was removed from the Community Asset Register after a review hearing last December, paving the way for development.

Members of HPOL, the Hyde Park Olympic Legacy group, have also written to planning chiefs, urging them to refuse the application, or at least defer their decision until some contested parts of an official report have been clarified.

They also object to suggestions that the nearby Royal Park School site, which is currently being bulldozed, will ultimately provide the community green space that campaigners wanted. They say this should not be used to justify building on another potential community resource. The council report says the authority recognises “the importance of providing access to outdoor recreation and space”.