Opposition rises against plans for new Leeds school

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Senior councillors are set to approve plans to build a new secondary school on protected green space in Leeds which would provide places for 1,200 pupils despite a wave of opposition.

Leeds City Council’s Executive Board has been recommended to proceed with plans to build a free school on a section of the King George V playing fields in Fearnville when they meet today.

However, the Save Fearnville Fields campaign says the move “flies in the face of substantial local opposition to the proposal”, with 69 per cent of respondents to the consultation opposing the plans.

Supporters of the campaign have delivered a petition containing 300 signatures to Leeds East MP Richard Burgon, who is backing the campaign, and an online petition, including almost 1,500 signatures, has been addressed to the council.

Iain Dalton, a spokesperson for the campaign, said: “Whilst we are disappointed to see council officers effectively ignore the outcome of their own consultation, we also note their report points out two potential alternative sites ‘Former Asket Hill Primary School’ and ‘Former Seacroft Hospital’. We hope members of the council executive board fully read the report and decide to go with one of these brownfield sites rather than take away beloved community playing fields.”

Labour MP Mr Burgon has written a letter to the leader of the council Judith Blake, calling for the decision to be delayed and requesting that a meeting takes place.

He said: “On this occasion I believe this proposal is wrong and the officers are wrong.”

Coun Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families said it was the end of the first stage of the consultation process. She said: “We are still in discussion about the best way to move forward taking into account feedback from the consultation, we have also had some useful last minute contributions from local ward members which may have an impact on direction. We have already seen in areas of the city where land is at a premium that options for new school sites are extremely limited. We will continue to work with communities and partners.”

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