New Leeds school will create 1,020 ‘desperately needed’ primary and secondary places

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The full and final planning application for a new ‘free’ school in East Leeds - which will provide more than 1,000 “desperately needed” new primary and secondary places when complete - is expected to get the go-ahead this week.

The Temple Learning Academy in Halton Moor has already opened to primary pupils and will take 11-years-plus from 2016.

It is being built on the site of the former East Leeds Leisure Centre, partly on the demolition site and partly as a new build extension.

A report to be presented to Leeds City Council’s North and East Plans Panel says the part-completed project, which includes community facilities, is “significant” for the area.

It says: “There is a desperate need for school places both at primary and secondary level as well as the community facilities that this development will provide. “Halton Moor desperately needs community space for recreation, youth services as health and wellbeing.”

The new school is expected to offer 1,020 places at full capacity by 2021 and will have 138 staff.

The site has previously been occupied by both a former leisure centre and a car parking area associated with the former Whitebridge Primary School, which has since been cleared.

Temple Learning Academy is the latest free school to open in the city.

Under Government policy there is a presumption that all new state schools will be free schools and academies rather than council run schools.

The YEP reported earlier this year that council bosses had warned Leeds is facing a funding shortfall of more than £65 million in order to create the thousands of extra places needed in primary and secondary schools.

After a decade of rising birth rates the city could see the numbers starting primary school reach a peak of more than 10,000 next September. And Leeds City Council officials believe they will need to create an extra four secondary schools over the next three years.

The report being presented to the panel on Thursday says: “The proposed development is considered to be acceptable in planning terms and lies within an area of sufficient size to accommodate such a use without having a detrimental impact upon both the visual and residential amenity of the area as well as its general character.

“Overall, it is considered that the proposed scheme is of an acceptable quality in design and delivers new and essential educational to meet the needs of the area

with regard to providing additional school places. Against this background it is recommended that the application is supported.”