‘We need more time’
Plans to demolish a former Leeds Primary School, which has stood in the city for more than 120 years, have been labelled ‘disappointing’ by campaigners who are now appealing for ‘more time’.
The Royal Park School, on Royal Park Road, Leeds, closed its doors as an educational establishment in 2004 yet remains one of the most iconic, historic buildings of the Hyde Park area.
Protesters, under the name of Royal Park School Community Consortium, say that ridding the area of the building would remove important history for the local community yet that did not stop council bosses rejecting an appeal against the demolition last month.
A bid by social enterprise group, Cubic Acquisitions, which aimed to turn the site into a community hub, was turned down meaning demolition of the site seems imminent.
The final bid came after a previous three-month reprieve had been placed prior to this decision in July and now campaigners want to see even more time given to save the site.
A new petition has already gathered 300 signatures, with more bodies getting involved in the campaigning process.
Councillor Akhtar, for the Hyde Park and Woodhouse Ward, joined the campaign at the 11th hour yet states he is willing to protest until the very end.
Speaking to the Asian Express, Cllr Akhtar said: “I urge the executive members of development to postpone the demolition of this site for another three months and extend the negotiation period for the appeal.
“I want to see it used for the benefit of local community, and therefore would rather see the current building utilised as it is than demolished.
“Some of my local residents have good memories of the place from their youth and school days as well.
“Obviously I respect that the council are in a very difficult position with the cuts from the central government yet hopefully we can come to an agreement which would benefit all parties.”
Campaigners are also pleading with council bosses to allow another extra time for a revised bid to be placed by the Cubic Acquisitions group.
A statement released on behalf of the Royal Park School Community Consortium read: “This is a bitter blow for all the people who have given so much time and money, and much of their lives, to the campaign to save the Royal Park building, so much part of Hyde Park history, for future generations.
“We can only hope for another miracle, for a last minute reprieve to get talks started again between Asset Management and Cubic Acquisitions, so that our much-loved Royal Park can be saved.”