This is an issue that will permanently affect the West Park area and, if you are a local resident, your views are important.
The Abbey Multi Academy Trust (MAT) is proceeding with the proposal to permanently expand St Chad’s C of E Primary School. This would lead eventually to a school population capacity of 420. Since this would require part of West Park Fields to be fenced off as a school sports pitch, approval has to be sought from Fields-in-Trust.
The previous public consultation, organised by School Services, showed that among school staff, parents, and residents:
- 51% opposed the expansion proposal on the current site
- 53% opposed the use of West Park fields being used as part of the expansion.
A feature of the proposal that has not been subject to public consultation concerns the football pitch for the school. MAT wish to fence off and move the existing football pitch, which is adjacent and parallel to Arncliffe Road, so that it abuts the school site. This would effectively block off the entrance to the fields from Thornfield Road, which is an entrance and view point identified in the West Park Conservation Area documentation; Members of the existing football club would have to book their usage of the pitch through the school; and any use of the “newly created school sports pitch” would probably entail a fee.
These changes will permanently deny casual access to a significant area of the fields to local residents and the general public.
For this reason West Park Residents’ Association (WPRA) will be arguing against the proposal. Fields-in-Trust prefers to have a single contact point, and WPRA has agreed to collect and collate comments from individuals and submit them to FiT.
The Next Step
An application for approval of the fencing-off will be sent by Leeds City Council to Fields-in-Trust, probably within the next two weeks, so please submit your comments to WPRA at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP.
Visual Impact of the Proposals
Unfortunately we cannot include a plan of this proposed new layout for the fields because despite our requests LCC have not yet made one available. However we’ll try to send out a plan when we get one. Meanwhile the following details should give an idea of the likely impact.
The first picture below shows the view from the bottom of Thornfield Road. If the proposal goes ahead, the open space between the hedge and the railings will be obscured by mesh fencing 2.5 metre tall. The second picture gives an idea of the extent of the area to be fenced off, and the third one indicates the new location of the fenced-off area.