Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Saturday, 6 March 2010

Leeds residents upset over Royal Park School plan

Former Royal Park School
The former school is boarded up

Residents who want to take over a former primary school building in Leeds say they are disappointed over council plans for its future.

The former Royal Park Primary School in Hyde Park has stood empty since 2004 and is in need of repair.

A consortium of residents bid to take over the building for community use.

But a council report recommends that the building is sold to a developer, with an option for the community to have some space on the ground floor.

The council's executive board will consider the report when it meets on Wednesday.

'Bad news'

The Royal Park Community Consortium (RPCC) plan for the building includes space for social enterprises, a community market, cafe, creche, craft workshops, studio space and a gym.

The report said: "There is already sufficient community provision in the area. Transferring the whole school for community use would lead to over 2,000 sq m of community space being available and it is questioned whether a community project on this scale would be sustainable.

"Furthermore, fund-raising is still in its early stages and there is no guarantee that sufficient capital will be raised or sufficient income generated as an enterprise."

The report recommends that if the council wants to sell the property "and see it restored as soon as possible", then it should sell to a firm identified only as "company B" for conversion into residential and commercial uses.

Protest planned

The alternative would be for the council to accept a lower sum from company B and secure part of the building for community use, provided the RPCC could raise sufficient funds over the next 12 months.

The RPCC said the report recommendations were "bad news" and it urged residents to express their disappointment to councillors.

The group will stage a protest against the recommendations before Wednesday's meeting at the Civic Hall.

Council leader Andrew Carter said: "The extent to which [the building] is made available for community use is obviously a concern for residents and we have listened carefully to their wishes.

"Our prime objective... has always been to secure its restoration for future generations in the local area."

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