Cockburn consults over new pitches on golf course land

Leeds City Council, the Leeds Local Education Partnership and Cockburn School have issued a consultation leaflet about the provision new outdoor sports facilities at the school on Gipsy Lane, Beeston.

As we first reported in June 2020, this is the second phase of work to create 210 extra places at the school to help meet the shortfall of high school places in South Leeds. Phase one consisted of a new block of classrooms and was completed in 2020.

Phase 2 consists of a full size 3G artificial sports pitch suitable for football and rugby and three tennis courts, to be built on land that formally part of the private South Leeds Golf Club. The golf club closed in 2019 and the majority of the land, which reverted to Leeds City Council’s ownership, was incorporated into Middleton Park.

The rationale for the new pitches is that tennis courts were lost to the new building and also to make up for a historic shortage of outdoor sports facilities at Cockburn School.

A number of mature trees will be removed as a result of building the pitches but three new trees will be replanted for each one lost in line with Leeds planning policies.

The plans (see below) include diverting a footpath and bridleway which runs along the current boundary of the school. The footpath, Leeds 207, is a historic right of way with heritage features – high quality stone sets or cobbles – and a permissive bridleway. The plans propose a new footpath would skirt the new pitches, whilst a new bridleway would be routed from the old golf house, further up Gipsy Lane.

Leeds Ramblers have previously objected to the development of Cockburn School damaging this footpath and Leeds Civic Trust suggested that the route could easily be preserved with gates in the school boundary to allow students to access the pitches.

Comments and questions are invited up until Monday 14 February, email to or write to Cockburn School, c/o Avison Young, 6th Floor, 1 City Square, Leeds, LS1 2AL. You can also view the proposals on the Cockburn School website here.

A full planning application is planned to be submitted later in February. Residents will be able to comment or object to the planning application in the normal way.


Main image: drawing showing how the pitches might look from the diverted footpath



27 Replies to “Cockburn consults over new pitches on golf course land”

  1. Plenty of Sports provision at John Charles Sports Centre 15 minutes walk away or The Clearings where generations of South Leeds people played Football Rugby and Cricket.[ me included] Too late now to stop the unelected unaccountable Civic Hall . I am sure when [not if] the Footpath is diverted it would not take much effort to take up the old stone setts and use them to lay the new path but i doubt that will happen easier just to bulldoze them.

    1. Well for decades Cockburn playing fields were a fair walk from the school but the pupils from this building we were told would be “at risk” if the path was left intact and the gifted land fenced off and unlocked for them to use. (a bit like the old Cockburn field was
      ?) I can’t believe they are so unruly that they might escape down the old path before they got to the pitch.

  2. As a Cockburn parent and local resident I think that this is a very good idea. It is so important for the kids of South Leeds to be healthy and do sport. The comment by Peter Stone has not been thought through – I would not want the school to be walking my daughter 15 minutes to John Charles and 15 minutes back again – the lessons are only 100 minutes long including changing time! What is most important here is the kids having the sports facilities that they deserve. Much more important than a footpath. Covid has robbed them of so much – it is time to give back.

    1. They have plenty of existing sports space outside, they should update that. This is nothing more than a land grab so they can build more classrooms on the old fields later.

  3. You cannot just divert one of the oldest footpaths in Yorkshire. They damaged it and all the 100 year old trees in the hedgerow so they could get wagons up instead of going through the school grounds to build the extra class rooms (I have photo’s ). This is part of the heritage of the area. Planting trees at 3 to 1 is not acceptable. These take between 20 and 30 years before they start to clear the air up until then they are adding to the pollution. The trees they are cutting down are home to birds and bats as well as other mammals . Even 5 yr old trees if planted would not be the same. Schools should be teaching about being carbon free and looking after our green spaces not destroying it and building car parks and 3g football pitches to further add to the pollution. What about flooding. Those trees they are going to cut down do a brilliant job of drinking the excess water. Can you imagine how bad its going to be with the run off from a 3g pitch and no trees to soak it up. Are the tennis courts going to be hard standing.. it does not say but if they are then that is another nail in the coffin for the environment. Like the 3g pitch nothing can liver under or over it and there is no drainage.

  4. Firstly at least local residents get a consultation more than I did for the houses and residential home (?) Being built on Middleton recreation ground notice the word recreation 2 football pitches ripped up claim it’s gonna be replaced with 1 is it a subuteo pitch. There was at one time a local swimming pool but due to council cut backs that shut. There aren’t any high schools in holbeck since they shut Matthew Murray so why not dig up holbeck moor and stick a school there

  5. As I resident from the Southleighs, I’m concerened about the wild life it will effect Owls and Bats we have from the tree area. Also the disturbance of the Old Briddle path One main concern if these facilitys will be used outside of Normal school hours will more trafic be on Gypsy lane theres only one route in and out.How will this effect our Lifes getting in and out of the Southleighs plus how will these areas be lit and who will be taking care of gate we have installed to kerp secure going up to the bike park

  6. This land was gifted to the people of Leeds for recreation, not for what will look like a prison recreation yard

    The Southleighs already have terrible traffic to deal with every day from lazy parents dropping their darlings right at the school gates and then all weekend from whatever groups the school rents its facilities out to regularly. This will just make it worse and close off a historic public right of way at the same time.

    The council of course have already decided what they want to do and will go ahead regardless of any for-show consultation. They are asking themselves for permission after all.

  7. A natural grass pitch should be the only option next to a nature reserve and ancient woodland. Nearly all 3G pitches use microplastics as infill. Microplastics build up in nearby soils, in local water courses or wash down drains with the potential to end up in the sea. Microplastic can also be mistaken for food by wildlife and has been found in the stomachs of fish in rivers near 3G pitches. There is a stream running adjacent to the proposed pitch. Rubber crumb has also been shown to leach harmful chemicals and toxic heavy metals, contaminating soil and water, impacting soil health and wildlife. The pitch will also introduce noise and light pollution. Light pollution affects bats, insects, in fact all wildlife and even trees. Because of this a grass pitch used only in school hours by the pupils would be the only acceptable option if the planning is permitted. It shouldn’t be used as a source of revenue for the school. The Climate Emergency wipes out any proposals like these that are now out of step with current research and thought.

    1. I was reading about this the other day and totally correct I was also interested in the type of ground intended for the tennis courts. the L.C.C advice on gardens for existing and new homes to comply with global warming avoidance—. In light of the LCC Climate Change Emergency, declared in 2019, existing trees are now being valued in terms of their carbon storage and their year-on-year carbon sequestration. This is in addition to public amenity and bio-diversity value, and also in terms of their contribution to air quality/ pollution.
      In comparison, new tree planting offers little visually or environmentally (in the sense of carbon capture) for at least 20-30 years. A large mature tree can absorb and store in the region of 3.5 tonnes of CO2. Cutting one down releases the CO2 back into the atmosphere. Consideration must therefore be given to retaining existing trees in a sustainable manner. THAT IS THE L.C.C.’S OWN BOOKLET so they know full well the damage they are allowing.

  8. This is a local school for the children of the local community. The majority of children live within a mile of the school. It’s quite simple the sports facilities are not sufficient for a school of its size (65% below the required government standard for a high school) if the school was built today, by government regulations it would have to be built with enough sporting facilities i.e. playing fields and pitches. The school serves the local children and community. The school is used by a number of local sports groups made up of both adults and children.
    I didn’t see much objection to the private golf club serving just a privileged few who could afford to pay the golf club fees. Why should the school and children of south Leeds do without adequate sporting facilities, are our children second class to the likes of children who go to other high schools in Leeds with the right amount of playing fields. It’s not the schools fault its so successful and popular with parents. My understanding is it is less than 5% required of the 118 acres private golf course right next to the schools existing boundary. The rest of the golf club site has been earmarked for planting of 1000s of trees and community use 95% v 5%. Come on!
    The ancient cobbled footpath is not affected by the scheme and will remain for public use, it’s only the existing tarmacked road (that has been there for many years) that will be re-routed. Why would anyone turn down the opportunity to give local children the correct provision they have a right too? Only in south Leeds would we argue against improving facilities at schools for our children and community for the benefit of minority not the majority.

    1. I don’t know where you got your information from but the footpath they have fenced off and covered in part to get the vehicles in has NOT been tarmacked for years and also the tarmacked area at the start of the path/bridleway was laid over a protective membrane (part of it which was dug up when they widened the path) I have photo’s of this if you want to see them. At the time when the path was fenced off all the original cobbles were intact and showing and there was still most of the hedgerow that had been there for over 100 years. The hedge and footpath could have been left and a fence put at the other side of the hedge and a gate to be unlocked when needed for pupils to use. Blame your planners and governors for refusing to do this. Riding rough shod over the rest of the community when they should be preserving our heritage, flora, fauna and bird and insect life. They should be showing by example how they could help the environment not destroy it.

  9. It’s been mentioned before, that traffic will without doubt become a lot heavier, what the Southleighs need is another road out of the estate as at times getting out of Southleigh Road onto Gypsy Lane is difficult, the expansion of the school and extra facilities it is providing will effect the the pollution etc of the area.

  10. I agree with Chris. The keyboard warriers didn’t moan about the golf club but come out against children! These kids have been through so so much. Why should they have to make do with less sports facilities than they deserve. Can the negative commentators not remember how Cockburn used to be one of the worst schools in the city? Why would these people resent the current success? These young people are the future. Stop living in the past.

  11. Those commenting that the school needs additional sports facilities should note that maybe the school should consider looking at what they have currently. I understand that the current provision is not currently fully utilised. Those objecting to this development are not against children but developments like this should be challenged to make sure they really do add value and are not just trophy venues. Are we also saying that environmental and public safety and access issues should just be ignored. No, let’s make sure this is looked at dispassionately and make sure the planning process looks at all angles and considers all views.

  12. The best thing about this “consultation” is the we’re supposed to send our comments to the PLANNERS of the scheme. Why? So they can come up with fluff in the planning application so they can pretend they are concerned? No thanks, i’ll be raising on official objection through the planning process and the appeal after that after the council ignore local residents concerns.

  13. Alan your missing the point the schools sporting facilities fall short by 65%. The grass pitch cannot be used all the time since it is waterlogged for the rainy season.

  14. As a local resident, and as Head Boy of Cockburn School, I believe that the expansions of the school’s sports facilities will benefit all and will be a great addition to South Leeds.

    Firstly, with the school taking on more and more students at the school to meet the needs of the community, there is more demand for facilities as the current building and facilities won’t be able to keep up with the demand for places if there is no expansion.

    Furthermore, more sports facilities mean more opportunity for young people to explore new sports and reach for their dreams of being the next Kalvin Phillips, Jamie Jones Buchanan, Andy Murray. It is important to push sports here at Cockburn School for the benefits of both mental and physical health. Sports is an amazing way to release all your negative energy whilst also maintaining your body’s physical condition. There may be a few trees being chopped down but in line with current laws, there would be 3 trees planted for every tree knocked down. This would have a positive impact on the environment long term as well as majorly impacting the students at Cockburn School.

    As well as the students at Cockburn School, it would also benefit the community as like the current 3G pitch, members of the public would be able to use the facilities, making a difference to the community. I believe that this development will be a great use of the land and the facilities will be as eco friendly as possible. I hope you also agree that there will be some amazing benefits to the proposed plans and get on board with us.

  15. As the Head Girl of Cockburn School and as someone who lives in this community, I can see the arguments for why you may be against the plan because change is scary. We question the ‘What if’ but why don’t we ask ‘What can’ we achieve with a the facility of a new sport specialized 3G pitch and tennis court young students. The new opportunity given to around 1250 students to thrive and enjoy more activities outside.

    We shouldn’t be hindering the progression in sports facility for students but look at the overall benefits. The old fields cannot accommodate the changes needed for our already over-subscribed school.

    We also understand that we should be trying our best to conserve as much nature, that is why we are regrowing the trees. I know that within school council we will continue to work hard to make the school more and more sustainable and eco friendly.

    South Leeds is very family-orientated community. I hope you can see that this isn’t a financial gain but a educational gain for students. Both to improve their physical and mental state, which has been worsened due to covid.There is already a vast social inequality gap within education, we hope to combat this as oppose to accepting the continuity of the lack of opportunities.This is for the young generation’s future.

  16. So the school is going to weaponise the students there as part of the planning application.

    1) If all these students are so local, why is there so much traffic every day? Why can’t you walk?
    2) You can have an opinion on planning issues when you can vote and own property affected by the development

    1. The kids aren’t local the vast majority of them come from holbeck as there isn’t a school in that area any more it’s just another ploy to destroy this area of the city no green spaces left

  17. Steve Moss. Who’s the child here! I struggle to see how property will be affected by the development of sporting facilities on a once private golf course used for sport. Maybe the children’s parents own houses and live in the local community. I must congratulate the head boy / girl for writing such an articulate well informed response unlike some.

    1. You wouldn’t allow a school to fence off and have exclusive use of part of Rounhday Park, so why is this any different. Its recreational space for all local people and the school have other options available.

  18. Change is indeed scary and I feel the school is still finding it difficult to understand how its behaviour impacts on the climate emergency. For example, we need to share resources and not keep duplicating them. We all know that first class sporting facilities already exist at John Charles. By accepting the (climate action) challenge to adjust your timetables accordingly, you can provide the children with an excellent sports education, you save the council money and you save nature and biodiversity. The short walk or cycle to the Centre promotes active travel. It also provides the children with an opportunity to gain a lifelong appreciation of nature by travelling through our local nature reserve. Shared provision through partnership is one way forward to save the planet.

  19. I wish to comment further on my original post, the majority of local residents who I have spoken to are against the development, due to the increase in traffic, all this new development will cause, build an additional road out of the Southleighs, somewhere to area of golf house direct onto ring Road, with either traffic lights or some form of roundabout, as the total traffic count at times is not acceptable to the residents.
    As regards the historic cobble path being taken out is unacceptable, as is the trees that support the wildlife.

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