Leeds: Bulldozers moving in on West Park Centre

COMING DOWN: Councillors look set to approve plans to bulldoze the West Park Centre.
COMING DOWN: Councillors look set to approve plans to bulldoze the West Park Centre.
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Moves to save the West Park Centre appear to have failed as councillors are asked to back the demolition of the site, as the most cost-effective option.

Members of the executive board will be asked on Wednesday to “not progress” the possibility of refurbishing and reopening the site that was temporarily closed in November last year for urgent repairs.

Instead they will be asked to back the bulldozing of West Park Centre (WPC) at a cost of £613,000.

Members will also be asked to agree the release of £800,000 from the sale of the land to build a new community facility or invest in an existing building.

The land is valued at £2m and it is suggested it could be developed for housing or a free school.

Campaigners, including councillors and former users of WPC, have been desperately trying to save the building.

It had been home to various community groups, who have been forced to find temporary new homes.

Some, such as Leeds Talking Newspaper and YAMSEN music for disabled adults and children of all abilities group, have not found suitable alternative facilities.

Leeds Symphony Orchestra, Leeds Festival Chorus and West Riding Opera are all now based at St Chad’s Church in Headingley, but they say the church gets cold in the winter and has no storage space for instruments.

Council contractors say the building is inefficient and high in energy costs.

Refurbishment and reopening of the centre would cost from £1.5m to £4.2m – with the minimum spend not addressing all issues such as energy-efficiency.

Originally WPC was closed due to hazardous electrics.

In February it was estimated that a minimum of £1.7m would have to be spent before the site could be reopened.

Further inspection has revealed the centre now needs a new roof and windows.

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