Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Alan Bennett backs bid to stop school becoming flats

Former Royal Park School
The former school is boarded up

A famous Leeds playwright has lent his support to residents of the city who are campaigning to stop a former school from being turned into student flats.

The Royal Park Community Consortium (RPCC) said Alan Bennett had written in support of their fight to make the old school into a community centre.

Royal Park School in the Hyde Park area of Leeds has stood empty since 2004 and is in a state of disrepair.

A council report recommends that the building is sold to a developer.

Planners were due to review the report on Wednesday.

But a Leeds City Council spokesman said the paper had been withdrawn from the meeting and would be discussed at a later date.

The RPCC's plan for the building includes a community market, cafe, creche, craft workshops, studio space and a gym.

The council said it would consider three bids for the school - two from businesses wanting to turn the school into flats and one from the RPCC.

Heather Kennedy, of the RPCC, said one their members had received a letter from Mr Bennett saying he backed their fight to keep school for the community.

Mr Bennett was born in Armley in Leeds and describes walking around the Hyde Park and Headingley areas of the city as a boy in his autobiography, Untold Stories.

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