Multifaith future for Ice Pak site in Beeston?

Aspiring Communities are consulting the community about their plans for a new community facility they plan to build in Beeston.

Aspiring Communities have bought the the site of the Ice Pak factory on Barkly Road in Beeston. They plan to build a community centre that will include:

  • Sports and recreation hall
  • Community hall / youth engagement and skills centre
  • Islamic learning centre and multi-faith facility
  • Small scale catering facility
The Ice Pak factory site on Barkly Road. Photo by Jeremy Morton
The Ice Pak factory site on Barkly Road. Photo by Jeremy Morton
Artist's impression of new centre
Artist’s impression of new centre on Barkly Road, Beeston

Aspiring Communities is a Leeds-based organisation that works across the north of England. They aim to encourage community social integration, by providing facilities that can be used by all sections of the community. They also hope to foster understanding, tolerance, cohesion and integration of the muslim communities to promote harmony within society through working closely with other groups and organisations.

You can download the full presentation here: AC ICEPAK Plans Public Consultation Meetings January 2013

Whilst new facilities are to be welcomed, especially for young people, these have plans have raised eyebrows in some sections of the community. A public consultation meeting at Beeston Village Community Centre was largely opposed to the plans.
Beeston & Holbeck Councillors Angela Gabriel and Adam Ogilvie commented:
“We are concerned about these plans. We are worried that there will be large events held here and that the local streets will get clogged with cars.”

8 Replies to “Multifaith future for Ice Pak site in Beeston?”

  1. In principle, anything which builds understanding and active co-operation between people in Beeston in a multi faith way is to be welcomed. However, it is not clear from the information pack what exactly is intended on the former Ice Pak site and what the multi faith dimension is.

    It is a shame the public consultation meeting wasn’t more broadly advertised so more people could go. I understand that it was held at a time when the local councillors were attending the Inner South Area Committee, which must be their first responsibility, so our elected representatives weren’t able to attend. I am surprised that it seems the meeting was arranged by Aspiring Communities without checking whether any councillor was able to attend. It would be helpful to learn more about Aspiring Communities, who’s involved and their aims as the information on their website is very limited.

    From an initial glance at the proposals I think there may well be some legitimate concerns about the scale of the development and car parking and traffic issues.
    I am sure local residents would welcome an appropriate development on the site given the present buildings are rapidly deteriorating, attract vandalism and are an increasing eyesore.

  2. I only just found out about this and im mortified, the building does need pulling down , but this new builing looks too Islamic, other faiths wont use it, i also was informed it would be called Islamic Learning Centre ????? i thought it was multi faith , im looking into this as i type not happy at all , ive not seen any leaflet or poster or news about this anywhere

  3. I live in the direct vicinity of the Ice Pak and yet have only heard of the above plans by rumours. There are four existing Mosques in the Beeston area, which pose the question why a further Islamic learning centre is needed. The Hamara centre is predominantly used by the Muslim community only, as are all the others with very little integration of other faiths. How will this be different when it has been clearly stated that it will only cater to ‘Islamic learning’?

    The local streets are already heavily congested with traffic which will pose a further problem on the safety of the young children leaving St Anthony’s primary school due to to existing parking problems in this area.

    It appears building work has already commenced, can anyone advise when planning permission was granted.

    1. Hi Nikki, thanks for your comments.

      In terms of Planning Permission, I understand that an application has not been submitted yet. Planning Permission is only required if you are putting up a new building or changing the appearance or extending an existing building, or if you are changing the use of a building. I understand there is pre-existing permission for some demolition on site and they would not need permission to undertake building work inside existing buildings.

  4. Thank you for your response.

    I’m sure the local community would welcome and support the charity Aspiring Communities if it was to consider catering to the needs of the wider community, taking into account the deprivation and lack of facilities in the area. There is a genuine growing concern of the percentage of people of all faiths in South Leeds who are not In Education, Employment, or Training (NEET’s) as well as a national concern of the under achievement of ‘poor British white boys’ who seem to have been under represented and forgotten by society in the past decade.

  5. What does this mean? We have enough multi-cultural buildings in Beeston already, if I wanted to go to one (which i don’t) there are already too many to choose from. Why does it have to be Muslim, multi-cultural? Why not just a plain old community center for us white British, we have needs too. I hope we get a chance to protest, we won’t though will we? We didn’t even know about the mosque built in the Woodviews until it was done, once again the council walk all over us again and do what they want with no consideration for us. Didn’t the local planning people go against the Woodview mosque and turned down planning permission? Then the councillors just ignored them. Looks like another Bradford where, it’s taken over from us yet again.

  6. I am very concerned about the proposed plans for this multi-cultural site. I am a member of the Beeston Forum, and I can safely say the meeting with Aspiring Communities WAS planned knowing full well the Leeds Councillors would not be present.

    Also after the Aspiring Communities hierarchy had put their plans to the Forum, they spent quite some time after the meeting trying to, what I can only call, brainwash the members of the Forum on the positives of the Islamic learning centre.

    The mosque, currently being built on Lodge Lane looks a total monstrosity, the size being a major issue as it will take the light away from buildings on the other side of the road to this structure.

    As a resident of Wooler Drive, directly behind the Ice Pak site, I am positively against this building, it will cause absolutely no good to the Community, and I urge the Leeds City Council to turn down the application, buy the site from Aspiring Communities, and use the land for some much needed housing, and NOT for something the residents of Beeston DO NOT NEED, and DO NOT WANT.

  7. I completely agree with John &amp Janet &amp others with their views on the Ice Pak site. I too was at the Beeston Forum meeting with Aspiring Communities regarding their plans for the site, &amp noted that even though they said it was not planned to build a mosque, just a multi faith community building with a prayer room, I noticed the plans included a Minaret. To me a Minaret means a Muslim faith place of prayer, or Mosque.
    One of the last A. C speakers was quite an aggressive speaker when many objections were raised, and actually said towards the end of his talk that we ‘over here’ should all get used to the fact that quite a lot of the Muslim community will be moving to ‘this side of the park’ &amp “if you don’t like it you should pack up &amp move, because it will definitely be happening!! I don’t think many of those who attended the meeting picked up on his comments, but my husband &amp I were very concerned with his tone|&amp aggressive manner, &amp could hardly believe what he’d just said!

    I’ve lived in Beeston for over 65 years, first as a child below the park, off Lodge Lane, then bringing my 3 children up in that area, &amp have seen many changes, not all for the best. Nine family members are buried in St Marys churchyard, &amp my family have lived in the Beeston area for over 150 years. For the last 15 years I’ve lived on Barkly Road so consider myself to know the area well! I think we have enough community centres, clubs, places of worship etc. in the area to serve everyone.

    I spoke to a Muslim friend &amp neighbour of mine, regarding the proposed Ice Pak proposal &amp he said he agreed with it, as he has to take his family to the other side of the park to pray at the mosque. He said it would be much more convenient when the Ice Pak becomes a Mosque so he wouldn’t have to travel so far!! I pointed out that it wasn’t far to go to attend one of the many mosques over the park, &amp if I wanted to attend my Church of England church I would travel down to St.Lukes, which has been our church since my children were young, I wouldn’t expect another C of E church to be built on Barkly Road for my convenience, as there are enough in the area. He then said that our churches were never full so we didn’t need any more, but the Mosques were becoming full to overflowing, as they were always well attended, so more were needed We eventually agreed to disagree!

    Can you also imagine the chaos when the football season starts again &amp Leeds United are playing at home. The roads round here are already clogged to overflowing with cars at this time, &amp hoards of supporters travel up &amp down Barkly Road, both on foot or in cars. Unfortunately, (&amp I think this has to be mentioned) the proposed centre could also be a target for some of the more extreme supporters, especially if it looks like a Mosque (i.e. with a Minaret). I’m certainly worried that there are a misguided minority out there who may want to cause damage or distress.

    The A.C are proposing over 40 parking spaces behind the building, as well as some spaces in front, which if you include car passengers could mean an awful lot of people attending the centre. I dread to think of the noise, disruption, &amp litter etc that this may cause, leading to neighbouring streets being almost permanently clogged.

    Finally (sorry it’s so long!) I was rather annoyed when someone knocked at the door the other week from Aspiring Communities asking if I would like to support their charity, &amp make regular donations. When I pointed out that they hadn’t been given planning permission yet, &amp why was he canvassing for support, I got the usual talk about having a ‘multi cultural centre to help our community etc. .

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