New school a step closer on South Leeds Sports Centre site

South Leeds Sports Centre in Beeston

Plans for a new Beeston and Holbeck primary school to be built on the site of the closed South Leeds Sports Centre could move a step closer to realitytomorrow.

Councillors sitting on the council’s powerful executive board are recommended to move forward with the plans and ask organisations or businesses to express an interest in running the potential new school. The recommendation reads:

“Approve the publication of an ‘invitation to bid’ statutory notice for a proposednew 420-place school with 26-place nursery on land at the former South Leeds Sports Centre to serve families in that area.”

The council says the new school is needed to meet a rising demand for places in the area and followed a consultation which included three public mjeetings. The report adds:

“At this stage there are no viable proposals for sports provision for that site, although have been ongoing discussions with at least one provider. The overall site size is large enough to contain both sports provision and a primary school, however delivery of both would be complex and would require some compromise.

“Whilst the respondents expressed some strong views about the future of a swimming pool on the site, these have been considered in the extensive consultation that took place about the closure of the leisure centre.

“It is possible, in bringing forward a specification for a new primary school, to include an aspiration that a viable business plan to also run and refurbish, the sports centre would be favoured. Should no such bid be forthcoming priority could be given to bidders supporting continued community access to the sports pitches on the site.”

But in an email sent to members of the SPLASH campaign fighting to reopen the centre and swimming pool, local resident Sally Cieslik encouraged local residents to protest outside the Civic Hall:

“…to show our displeasure that the school is going on this site and that further sites have not been fully investigated.

“Anyone who can stay to hear the item being discussed in the meeting please do so – if enough of us want to hang around perhaps the item will be brought forward who knows.
“Whatever happens on Wednesday, we will fight on.”

The proposed new school, which would ease the growing demand for primary school places, could be open by 2014.

The executive board meets on Wednesday at 1pm at Leeds Civic Hall. The new school is item number 20 – read the full report here.