Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Council chiefs to consider the future of former Royal Park school

Council chiefs will consider the future of a building which for nearly 120 years was a popular school and is now in serious need of repair.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday 10 March, members will be presented with a report on the results of a tendering exercise to find a buyer for the former Royal Park School, located in the Hyde Park area of the city, close to the city centre.

The building needs costly refurbishment work before it can be brought back into use and previous proposals of the council to find viable social or community uses have been unsuccessful. In order to consider all remaining possibilities, in November 2009, the council invited best and final offers for the property on condition that it would be fully refurbished and restored within two years.

The report to executive board on Wednesday outlines a series of options for members to consider, along with the extent to which all or part of the building could be retained for community use.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council and executive board member responsible for asset management said:

“The former Royal Park School is a much-loved building. Local people have sent their children there and many Leeds people have fond memories associated with it. The building has always played an important part in the local community.

“The extent to which it is made available for community use is obviously a concern for residents and we have listened carefully to their wishes.

“Our prime objective throughout this marketing process has always been to secure its restoration for future generations in the local area.”

The executive board report explains that bids have been received from three organisations interested in developing the site: two from commercial companies and one from the Royal Park Community Consortium, a company set up by a group of local residents to develop the building for community use.

Two of the bids are to purchase and restore the property on a commercial basis within two years and both have indicated that they would also consider letting some of the space within the building for community purposes. The Community Consortium has requested that it be allowed a 12 month period for fundraising to take on the whole building for community purposes, but has also expressed a willingness to enter discussions if its request for exclusive use of the building is not supported by the council.

Officers are recommending the preferred bidder if members wish to sell the building or the preferred option if members wish to secure use of part of the building for community use.

The report will be presented to members of Leeds City Council’s executive board at a meeting on Wednesday 10th March at 1pm. Copies of the report are available on the council’s website www.leeds.gov.uk or by calling the press office on tel: 0113 2243602.

Ends

For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk