Filed under: LCC — Bill @ 8:36 am
When Leeds University purchased the former Grammar School site, it’s clear it did so with the intention of building on the cricket field that formed part of the site. The fact that the cricket field had Protected Playing Pitch status in the Unitary Development Plan, was only a temporary obstacle. To get round the problem, they offered the council a bribe. They said that in exchange for planning permission, they’d give the council £255,000 to spend on replacement sports facilities on Woodhouse Moor. These were to include two mini soccer pitches and a Multi Use Games Area or MUGA on the site of the tennis courts near Hyde Park Corner. The council held all the cards. It just had to say no. Instead, in exchange for a paltry £255,000, the council agreed to the university’s proposals. And so the community lost the Protected Playing Pitch and in return gained the threat of formal sports facilities on the open parkland of Woodhouse Moor. All of this was agreed without any consultation with local people.
Friends of Woodhouse Moor raised the issue at a meeting of INWAC that took place on the 13th December 2007. In response, the councillors passed the following resolution :
That in respect of the multi use games area proposed close to Hyde Park Corner, North West Area Management be requested to seek clarification on the proposals, and to ensure that public consultation was carried out on any such proposal
Following the meeting, Lib Dem Councillor Penny Ewens was in touch with senior planning officer Paul Gough by telephone. Here’s an extract from an email he sent her immediately afterwards :
Further to our telephone conversation, I thought I would drop you a line to let you know my thoughts on the suggestion that the proposed MUGA should be subject to further public consultation. Basically my view is that further consultation is unnecessary and would delay what is a very worthwhile project on a site which is in need of upgrading….I think that if we start a debate on the principle of the development it could seriously embarrass the Council, mislead the local community and get us into a legal minefield. If we do not carry out this project, all it would take is one person to make a legal challenge and we would be in trouble….There is no need to prevaricate over this and, in my view, we should proceed to the implementation stage. I hope this is helpful advice.
Mr Gough says that there’s no need for “further public consultation”. The fact is that there’s been no public consultation. And so, despite the promise that was made to local people by Lib Dem councillors in December 2007, construction work on the MUGA (pictures below) began a few days ago.