Refusal to reply over shut centre angers Leeds MP

Greg Mulholland.
Greg Mulholland.
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AN MP has slammed Leeds City Council for refusing to supply information following the sudden closure of a busy community centre.

Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, 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 to then 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 were already plans in place for the site were heightened when a proposal to turn the site into a university-sponsored technical college were rejected by Leeds City Council.

The Lib Dem MP’s request for all correspondence sent and received by the council relating to the West Park Centre, as well as all internal communications and details of meetings, has been denied by the council.

He said: “It is extremely disappointing that Leeds City Council have refused to supply information requested about the West Park Centre, despite a Freedom of Information request.

“On top of the confusing and patchy statements, this only gives the impression to centre users and local residents that they have something to hide and will feed suspicion that the council had already decided what they wanted to do with the centre.”

He added: “Council taxpayers and service users have a right to know what discussions the council has been having about the future of the centre and with whom and this refusal is all too typical of the way the current council deals with local residents.

“Leeds City Council are continuing to mishandle this issue and urgently need to come clean on the future of the centre and the plans they have in place, for the sake of the numerous community organisations and local residents that rely so heavily on the centre.”

Councillors at a recent full council meeting were told that replacing the aging electrical system could cost as much as £600,000. The meeting also heard that asbestos works will also cost a six-figure sum.

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