Controversial plans to demolish South Leeds Sports Centre have been approved this afternoon.
Senior councillors approved recommendations that the West Park Centre, the former Royal Park Primary School in Hyde Park and South Leeds Sports Centre in Beeston should be demolished as the council looks to cut its budget.
A report on the council’s Derelict and Nuisance Property Programme said that South Leeds Sports Centre closed in November 2010 due to falling visitor numbers and high running costs. It is estimated that a refurbishment of the centre would cost £4.25m.
Councillor Richard Lewis told the executive board meeting at Leeds Civic Hall that the building was not fit for purpose:
“South Leeds has been wrecked internally, there’s no way of repairing it. It was a poor quality building in the first place and the damage has made it even worse. We had tried some time ago to engage local people to transfer it into community use, but a bid to take over the facilities unfortunately failed.”
A bid by a consortium led by social enterprise Tiger 11 back in 2011 would have seen the sports centre being owned by the community. However, the sums didn’t add up and it proved too costly for the consortium to take it over.
There had been talk that Citu, the company which owned the Greenhouse in Beeston, were looking at the viability of taking on the facilities, but the internal vandalism appears to have made that an unrealistic prospect. Part of the site, highlighted as one of the city’s top ten eyesores in a council report last year, is currently earmarked for a new primary school for South Leeds.
As well as providing a swimming pool and sports facilities to the area, the Beeston Broncos junior rugby club also used the changing facilities prior to closure.
Campaigners who had initially fought against closure and then campaigned to get the facilities reopened earlier today criticised the council’s ‘lack of vision’ over the site. “This is an area where they should be boosting the number of healthy things for people to do, ” campaigner Sally Cieslik told the YEP.
Councillors also approved the demolition of the former Royal Park Primary School and West Park Centre. Full story on The City Talking.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.