Wednesday, 11 September 2013

‘Controversial’ centre set for wrecking ball

  Thanks to Laura Bowyer of the Yorkshire Evening Post for this article in August.

‘Controversial’ centre set for wrecking ball

West Park Centre, Leeds
West Park Centre, Leeds

CAMPAIGNERS HAVE failed to save a community centre dubbed “the jewel in Leeds’ crown” from the wrecking ball.

Members of Leeds City Council’s executive board agreed to demolish the West Park Centre last month.
They agreed to release £800,000 from the sale of the land to build a new community facility or invest in existing buildings.
Campaigners called for the decision to be scrutinised by the council’s sustainable economy and culture scrutiny board.
Despite hearing from residents and councillors opposing demolition, the panel agreed to release the decision - meaning the building will be demolished.
Councillor Judith Chapman (Lib Dem, Weetwood) said following the meeting: “I’m deeply disappointed that despite the impassioned pleased of residents and West Park Centre users, board members agreed to proceed with demolition.
“The council’s handling of this whole sorry saga has been utterly shambolic from the start.”
The centre’s closure hit the headlines last year after it was closed in November because of ‘hazardous’ electrics.
Yet, the following day, a party attended by the then Lord Mayor of Leeds, councillor Ann Castle, was held at the site.
Campaigner Victoria Jaquiss said it was “a jewel in Leeds’ crown” and it had been home to various groups including YAMSEN, a charity that supports music groups for disabled adults and children.
Martin Farrington, director of development, said: “Members of the executive board determined they wouldn’t support the level of investment required to bring the building back into use.
“We acknowledge West Park Centre is a very valued facility.”
A inquiry will be held in November examining the decision to demolish the centre.

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