Expansion plans for Cockburn School

Councillors are set to approve spending almost £7 million at Cockburn School in Beeston to accommodate an additional 60 students from September.

Next Wednesday (24 June 2020) Leeds City Council’s Executive Board will discuss a report which proposes creating the extra space at Cockburn School by building a modular block of ten classrooms and transferring land for extra playing field space.

The additional space at Cockburn is required because of Government delays to building the new Laurence Calvert Academy on the site of the former Middleton Park High School. The new school was originally scheduled to open in September 2019, but is now not likely to open until 2022 at the earliest.

In February we reported on a campaign by parents whose children faced long journeys across Leeds to high school due to the shortage of secondary school places in South Leeds. Leeds City Council worked with the Cockburn Multi Academy Trust (MAT) to create extra capacity at Cockburn to resolve the issue.

The new three storey block will include two science laboratories, seven classrooms and an ICT suite. The block will be built on existing hard standing which is currently used for PE.

The plans also include the transfer of land, owned by the council, which was formerly part of South Leeds Golf Club to the school. This will be used to reprovide hard sports courts and create a new full size grass football pitch.

The land to be transferred amounts to 3 hectares, or 7.4 acres. The land would be levelled and the report describes this work as “challenging” due to the site levels which vary by as much as 7m. It will also involve the removal of over 30 mature trees, each tree removed will be replaced by three new trees.

The project is to be split into two phases. The first phase comprises the construction of the new classrooms and various works to outdoor sports area on the existing school site. The cost of the first phase is projected to be £5,468,100.

The second phase, programmed for next financial year, 2021-22, will see the new football pitch and sports courts built on the former golf club land. The cost of this work will be £1,366,900.

The report implicitly recognises that the second phase of the project is more contentious, stating that planning permission will be sought for each phase separately “to ensure that the teaching accommodation required is in place for September 2020.”

According to the plans accompanying the report, access to the construction site will be via the lane that runs between the school and Beeston Park Boarding Kennels & Cattery. Existing hard standing next to the 3G football pitch will be used for the compound and then extended to create a new 50 space car park. The lane, including the old cobbled footpath which runs into Middleton Park, will be incorporated into the school site as part of the phase 2 proposals with the existing public right of way diverted around the new pitch across the former golf course.

You can read the full report here.


12 Replies to “Expansion plans for Cockburn School”

  1. So much for the council promising it would be used as green belt and an extension to the woods. I am for this because the extra places are needed BUT totally against L.C.C. going back on their word without considering the views of the people it is supposed to represent. Plus I would like to be informed why its the governments fault not the councils that the middleton school has not been built yet. Lack of money does not wash when they can spend 12 million pounds on a statue of two arms on a pole for mandella gardens.

    1. Hi Linda, thanks for your comment. The issues with the new Middleton school were explained in this article https://southleedslife.com/we-need-the-government-to-build-a-new-school/. Briefly local councils are not allowed to build new schools anymore. Government funds Academy Trusts like Cockburn MAT to build them, but the government has delayed and delayed this project.
      I’ve not been able to find a cost for Kenneth Armitage’s ‘Both Arms’ sculpture in Mandela Gardens, but the cost of the whole of Millennium Square was £12 million. The square was built and the statue installed long before the spending cuts brought in by the government since 2010.

  2. Middleton has 2 high schools within walking distance where as Holbeck since the demolition of Matthew Murray has none even though hundreds of new houses and flats have been built there making it unsustainable. Instead of building a new high school in Middleton build it in Holbeck then the kids from Holbeck and far side of Beeston could go there leaving plenty of school spaces for the kids of Middleton in Cockburn or is it just another excuse to destroy green field land and build even more houses in Middleton to fill the school

    1. I totally agree with this statement. Once again the ruling Labour Group on Leeds CC has proved that it is as corrupt as you can imagine and no one can believe a word it says. Extension to Middleton Woods, indeed. Who can believe the words of the disingenuous Judith Blake. Sounds a bit like the “consultation” that took place in the planning process for the all weather football pitch. I went to the final meeting at The Civic Hall and it was just nodded through, as if it had been stitched up months before and the consultation process was just a formality. I knew that this sort of thing would happen when the Golf Course closed. No patch of green belt is safe from Leeds City Council’s mass concretizing ambitions. As for the hollow promise to plant 3 trees for every tree destroyed. Simple – don’t believe it and what’s more, vote for a different council when ever the political class have the bravery to call the next local elections. Very, very disappointing!!! I will never vote Labour locally again!!! The reason that all this is being done is because the school is in Judith Blake’s ward.

  3. Yes i have heard about this but the council could of put it to the local people first. I understood it was going to be a extension of the park.. My other concern is please dont demolish the old golf.. house as they seem to do what they like in south leeds if it was in north leeds it would not get passed.

  4. 2 of the 3 councillors for Middleton live in North Leeds all 3 are NIMBYs the councillor Bramhope who is also the chair of sustainable housing has recently been complaining about asylum seekers in a hotel near there and planning permission for building he wouldn’t be complaining if it was in South Leeds it’s about time things were changed that to be a councillor you have to LIVE in the area and actually listen to people instead of shoving their ideals on someone else’s doorstep

  5. Middleton park was left to the children of Middleton, it is a great asset for Middleton children not for misuse by Leeds City Council and businesses.

  6. This is not really a story about school places but a land grab by the school to build a car park. It would have been too obvious to put the car park right on the rewilded golf course so they swapped it about abit. They have the space to recreate the PE area on the land that will form their new car park. We are all encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transport these days. Indeed a new train station at the White Rose is planned plus new cycle paths up Dewsbury Road. So do we need to lose this beautiful rewilded land for a car park!! I think they tried to take the historic cobbled path before for the purpose of car park entry but it was rightly rejected at the time. This historic path and the wildlife corridor it provides would not be safe in the schools hands!

  7. How can there be a meeting on the 24th June to discuss these so called plans when the work has already started!! we’ve seen active movement of trees been cut, vans in and out over the last month, people surveying the area and when we asked what they were doing we were obviously lied too.
    There’s no thought from either the school or councillors for the people who’s houses back onto the school fields. The disruption last time was appalling
    I understand schools have to progress but please have some consideration

  8. Could everyone who is against the land transfer that Cockburn Academy is demanding please e-mail your councillor to at least show your opposition to the scheme. Please do this today as the meeting is tomorrow at 1pm 24 June.

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