Leeds: West Park community centre’s safety risks

Musical Arc, an ensemble of disabled and able-bodied musicians based at the West Park Centre.
Musical Arc, an ensemble of disabled and able-bodied musicians based at the West Park Centre.
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Council officials are carrying out an inquiry into how a community centre came to be used following a decision to close it for safety reasons.

Councillors were told on Friday (Nov 2) that the West Park Centre, Spen Lane, was closing immediately because the electrical system posed a serious risk.

But on Saturday about 200 people including the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Ann Castle, attended a function there.

And now Leeds North West Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland and councillors are demanding to know the details behind the closure.

He said: “We need some answers to exactly why this decision was taken to close the centre and we need them immediately as I am unable to see the rationale behind this in any way whatsoever as, surely, if the centre was completely unsafe for public use then the function and the visit by the Lord Mayor would not have been able to go ahead.”

The council is currently carrying out a review of the centre’s future use.

Coun Sue Bentley (Lib Dem, Weetwood) said: I hope this isn’t a cynical ploy to try and claim that the centre is beyond economical repair and will have to be sold off or demolished.”

A council spokeswoman said: “An inspection of the electrical system at the West Park Centre highlighted that its condition could pose an immediate health and safety risk to users. In light of this we took the decision to close the centre on a temporary basis to allow us to carry out further investigations. We are aware that a pre-arranged event took place there on Saturday, and are now carrying out a full investigation to find out how this happened.

“The event clearly should not have gone ahead at West Park given the information we had received and also because arrangements had been made to ensure that activities over the weekend could take place at alternative venues. Arrangements are being put in place for staff to be relocated on a temporary basis.”

Date: 3rd January 2018.
Picture James Hardisty.
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