Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The West Park Centre in The YEP again: Centred Valued Near and Far

Letter: Centre valued near and far

Regarding West Park Centre. When Corporate Services/Asset Management [and the very name does not suggest public accountability] decides to ignore public need and public opinion, I ask myself who is running this city – a couple of back room boys and girls, or our elected representatives?

And this is the question I put at the Local Council Area Committee at the Cardigan Centre last December, as one councillor after another spoke in the West Park Centre’s defence.
Each councillor spoke in favour of retention, repair and re-opening.
Each one got it; they got that the charities that are our top orchestras and choruses and top Special Needs music organisations are rather more than nice little extras added to the riches of the Leeds cultural scene.
The West Park Centre is not a local community centre, although many of its much valued volunteers were/are local.
It is an inclusive arts centre; it is a city-wide, and at times Yorkshire-wide, and it is situated very conveniently close to Leeds ring road within the safe spitting distance of a parade of shops who open from early morning till late at night.
Recently one organisation [YAMSEN: SpeciallyMusic] has become rather more than Yorkshire wide.
In May a group of five masters degree students of Music education in Seoul National University in Korea emailed to request a meeting with us, and especially “ hoping to see multi sensory classroom, Rehearsal Room, studio and the Main Hall.” They wrote they are “trying to adapt UK’s education system of SEN and learning strategy of ArtForms & YAMSEN to Korean special music ed [ucation]”
So, if the Executive Board decides on Wednesday to accept the recommendations of a small group of unelected officials, whose job it is to manage assets, and who has failed dismally, over the space of seven months, to place satisfactorily several massive users of the centre, it won’t be just the people of Leeds that they let down.
Victoria Jaquiss FRSA

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