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St Chad’s V West Park Centre – Addressing the Shortage of School Places

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As you may be aware, there is a shortage of primary school places in North Leeds. The Council has suggested that St Chad’ Primary School in West Park should fence off part of the West Park Fields adjacent to the school and use it to provide for an additional intake of pupils.

In the Weetwood/West Park area an obvious solution would be to use part of the site of the former West Park Centre as it has excellent car parking and there are covenants on the site intended to keep it solely for educational purposes. However the Council has advertised the site for sale for housing development, disregarding these covenants.

In addition, the West Park Fields were granted Fields-in-Trust (FIT) status to commemorate the jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. This protects the fields from development and encourages local residents to get involved in their management. The West Park Fields Group has since established a community orchard and has plans to further enhance the fields and facilities.

Clearly it’s good to have a primary school in the neighbourhood, but any expansion needs to avoid adverse effects on residents. St Chad’s was built without much provision for drop-off by car. Hence, twice a day those living in nearby streets have to suffer congestion, noise, and air pollution from parents’ cars. In the Arncliffe Road area, it’s not uncommon for cars to wait (with engines running) for forty minutes before the end of the school day to ensure they get parking near the school. This will only get worse if the school almost doubles in size.

Furthermore, any extended school buildings and playground areas will probably be fenced off from the fields along Northolme Avenue impeding access to the fields for residents. School provision is important, but so is ensuring that any detrimental impact on West Park will be minimised.

Consultation sessions at St Chad’s took place at the end of January. Residents now need to submit their comments by 4pm on  10th February 2017.

West Park Residents’ Association suggests that it would be helpful if comments were submitted in line with the Response Form in the Consultation booklet. Emailed response forms need to go to educ.school.organisation@leeds.gov.uk

The Response Form asks two very specific questions, Please be sure to indicate whether you Agree or Don’t Agree to both questions and add whatever comments you consider appropriate.

Information and downloads can be found at www.westparkresidents.org.uk 

 

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