How well do you know Headingley? Over the last two and a half years as Councillor for Headingley ward, I’ve got to know it pretty well and one of the things I’ve noticed is how much we lack green space and sports facilities.
Do you know, none of our Primary Schools have adequate sports and recreation facilities?
The people of Headingley and Hyde Park suffer from serious health issues caused by lack of exercise and physical fitness. Those problems are best addressed through getting people into good habits early on in life and then also offering opportunities for those in later life who missed out previously.
So how can we do this?
One way would be to have sports, leisure and recreation facilities in the heart of our community, run by our community. We have that chance! Those facilities exist. The former Girls High School sports facilities on Victoria Road in my ward, Headingley, have lain unused since 2008 when community use was stopped by the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL). The school itself stopped using them in 2004 when it closed its doors.
A sports field, a sports hall and a swimming pool. What an opportunity!
However, we have a problem. GSAL is intent on selling the site to developers to build small three bedroom houses and a convenience store.
Now, there are some things we are NOT short of in Headingley and Hyde Park and this list includes small houses and convenience stores!
What we are short of is sports facilities run in the community interest.
So I’ve been working alongside other councillors and a group of local residents – in a real community effort.
We’ve set up ‘Hyde Park Olympic Legacy’ to do two things:
1. Fight the proposed development of the site. For that we need your help.
Please consider objecting to the application.
The planning application is 13/00868 and it can be accessed via:
Objections can be sent via firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to The Development Enquiry Centre, The Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington Street, Leeds LS2 8HD including your name and address and the planning application no. 13/00868.
2. Develop a not for profit social enterprise to bring sports and leisure opportunities to the people and schools of Headingley and Hyde Park.
Check out our website, http://hpol.hydeparkonline.co.uk/ . We have developed a brilliant business case for a self-funding social enterprise but we just need to have use of the site in some way. Council funds are tight at the moment as you might imagine, so ideally we would like to work in partnership with GSAL to develop something truly wonderful for our community.
We met with GSAL and Morley House Trust (the charitable arm of GSAL that manages its assets and finances) but they appear intent on selling the site for the most money they can get.
I appeal directly to the Governing Body of the GSAL and to Morley House Trust to work with HPOL and do the right thing for the people of Headingley and Hyde Park.
I appeal to you to get involved.
We can work together to give a golden legacy of sport, leisure and recreation to all the people of Hyde Park and Headingley.
Cllr Neil Walshaw