Plans to close Pudsey Civic Hall ‘one hell of a snub’ to Leeds residents and groups who use community facility
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The council announced plans to close Pudsey Civic Hall and a number of other council-run buildings and facilities – as well as making up to 750 people redundant – in a bid to avoid bankruptcy during what are particularly testing times for the local authority.
The plans are part of the 2024/5 financial budge, wherein the council needs to save a further £58.4m in the year ahead, alongside £7.4m of already agreed savings.
A consultation to get residents’ thoughts on the plans to sell the civic hall is currently open and many have voiced their opposition, saying it would be a “disaster”.
The hall is used for numerous events and classes as well as hosting a blood donor service.
Coun Andrew Carter CBE, who represents the ward that the centre is in, said: “What I can say is I was there at the official opening in the early 1970s and it’s been an underused but valuable asset. Leeds City Council in my view have never marketed it properly and, if you like, its closure is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“They have been winding it down instead of promoting it for the last 10 years.”
He said that he and his fellow Conservative representative for the ward Amanda Carter were “completely opposed” to the closure.
"Given a chance and with proper management it would be a lot more successful”, he said. “The council seems to be proposing the easy option.”
He said that he has received a lot of complaints from constituents and users of the civic hall who feel they “are not getting the support they need”.
Coun Carter said: “It will be a significant loss. Two years ago we saw the council shut Richmond House Elderly Persons Home which could’ve been saved and now just adjacent to it they are proposing closing Pudsey Civic Hall.
"It’s one hell of a snub to the people of Farsley, Calverley and Pudsey.”
Asked if he knew what the plans were for the site if it were to be sold, Coun Carter said that residents believe the council intends to sell off the land that the civic hall is on so that it can be demolished and have houses built in its place.
He said: “That would be devastating for the local area in terms of the volume of traffic it would generate on what is already a rat run.
"They are looking at it as a cash cow when they should see it as a valuable civic asset that could be used efficiently.”
A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Given the scale of the financial challenges that we and every Council face, we cannot afford to deliver the services that we have previously provided, especially when they run at a deficit, which is the case for Pudsey Civic Hall.
"At this stage we are consulting on the proposal to close the building and we have highlighted the potential to sell the site. Following the end of the consultation period we will look at the future options for the site prior to making any final decisions.”