Quest for answers launched over sudden Leeds community centre closure

SUDDEN CLOSURE: The West Park Centre.
SUDDEN CLOSURE: The West Park Centre.
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A Leeds MP has launched an official quest for answers following the sudden closure of a community centre.

Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, has submitted a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to Leeds City Council to shed light on the controversial decision to close the West Park Centre on Friday, November 2.

Council officials at the time blamed the closure on faulty electrics.

MP Mulholland said he was amazed then to find an event for 200 people – attended by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Ann Castle, as special guest – was being held on the Saturday at the ‘hazardous’ location.

Suspicions that there are already plans for the site were heightened when a proposal to turn the site into a university-sponsored technical college were rejected by Leeds City Council last Friday.

The Lib Dem MP is now calling for a copy of all correspondence sent and received by the city council relating to the West Park Centre, as well as all internal communications and all details of meetings.

He said: “It is vital we establish the facts about why Leeds City Council decided to close the West Park Centre suddenly on the premise that it was unsafe for public use.

“I hope that by getting hold of the facts through this FoI request we can establish exactly why the decisions that have been made about the future of the centre have been made, and whether it was the council’s intentions all along to close the centre, irrelevant of public opinion and the options available to them to secure its future.”

Sarah Carmody, a local campaigner, added: “I am completely bemused as to why the centre was deemed to be completely unsafe and yet a function for more than 200 people was permitted to go ahead.

“The council need to be upfront about how and why they have made this decision, and it is a sad state of affairs when a FoI request has to be put to them in order to get answers.

“The community deserve to know exactly what is happening with their centre as a matter of urgency.”

A council spokesman confirmed the FoI request from Mr Mulholland had been received and that it would be answered as soon as possible.

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