Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Shambles that will now see centre shut its doors for good

YEP Says (August 7): Shambles that will now see centre shut its doors for good

Those connected with the West Park Centre have every right to feel aggrieved by the manner of its passing.

The outcome they have feared since its sudden closure last November has now been confirmed with the council’s executive board rejecting calls for the decision to be subjected to further scrutiny.
It means the community centre, one of the busiest in Leeds, will now be demolished. The official reason is that the cost of carrying out necessary repairs had become too costly.
Campaigners, however, point to the fact that the site was listed as one of several to be sold off for housing by the council as far back as 2009.
It was subsequently taken off that list, but users say that Education Leeds’s gradual withdrawal of classes from the building created a financial problem from which it has never recovered.
Though the council insists that the decision to bulldoze the West Park Centre was simply down to the unaffordable cost of maintenance, others remain unconvinced.
While £800,000 from the sale of the land has been promised as a contribution to building a replacement, some may think campaigners are entitled to be cynical about how the centre’s fate was sealed.
It is certainly hard to disagree with Weetwood councillor Judith Chapman when she says the council’s handling of this saga has been “utterly shambolic”.

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