The Save Our Beeston (SOB) Campaign has published an open letter to their local councillors raising further concerns with the proposed development of the Ice Pak site by Aspiring Communities.
The letter, written by SOB’s honorary secretary Sean Sturman, argues that the group’s current plans will not meet their stated objectives and goes on to make allegations that people associated with Aspiring Communities hold extremist views.
“We believe that this group have been lying to the local community concerning the primary use of this proposal and also that they are as peaceful as they make out.”
The letter quotes disturbing Pro jihadi and anti-Semitic comments made by someone who is alleged to be an Aspiring Communities volunteer and says the information has been passed to the police.
SOB point out that the balance of the development has changed between the first planning application and the revised current application. Amongst the spaces withdrawn from the plans is a large community room. SOB query the separate entrances to the sports hall and “Islamic Centre” and suggest that the sports will be used for religious events and prayers.
Responding to the letter, Ash Mahmood of Aspiring Communities said:
““We have hundreds of people who have supported us with the project and we are not in any position to comment on any individuals. We are responsible for the content on our Facebook page, but if any individual decides to promote or like something on their page we cannot control this.
“We work closely with the Police and have received Prevent training to help us identify people who may be becoming radicalised.
“We have no involvement in extremism or any form of terrorism.
“With regards to the entrances to the site and building, these have been designed and discussed in detail with the Local Authority. The proposed dual means of vehicular entrance and egress has been requested by Leeds Highways in order to ease the flow of vehicles and particularly large refuse and service vehicles to and from the site. This also enhances pedestrian and driver safety to stop vehicles from reversing on to Barkly Road.
“The proposed pedestrian main and sports entrances to the building are required to permit access the building for all persons. These are supported by a requisite number of fire exits that have been discussed and agreed with the planning authority.”
Cllr Adam Ogilvie commented:
“We haven’t received it formally, but I’ve seen it on their Facebook page. I’ve requested to join the Facebook group so I can comment there. We will issue a statement once we receive it and are able to answer all the questions.”
You can read the open letter in full on Save Our Beeston’s Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/535996623203900/permalink/553554171448145/
Aspiring Communities’ planning application is still under consideration by Leeds City Council. You can view the application on the council’s planning website here: publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/online-applications, simply enter the reference: 14/06007/FU. A decision will be made by councillors on the South & West Plans Panel, but no date has been set yet.