The local community has taken over Royal Park School in order to repair it, and to protect it from further vandalism. They have issued the following statement :
Save Our School
Royal Park Primary School was closed in 2004 by Leeds City Council.
On its closure our community was promised that it would be retained as badly needed community space.
Then, Leeds City Council’s Asset Management took over an intact working building.
After many rejected bids from the community (some of them having considerable funding attached to them) Asset Management chose the private and highly professional company Rushbond PLC to convert the school into badly needed old age pensioners flats . . . opposite the busiest, noisiest public houses in an area of predominantly young transient population !
As with most of the council’s big ideas it was a ‘foolproof’, watertight’ plan that fell through eighteen months later.
After Royal Park Consortium (RPCC), discovered that Rushbond PLC had pulled out of the deal, RPCC again approached the Asset Management team and made another bid on behalf of the community to utilise the building, and again were rejected – on the ground that RPCC had no track record and no finances (unlike Rushbond PLC).
RPCC always intended that, once in possession of the building, we would start to apply for funding – the chicken and egg dilemma !
Leeds City Council were one of the first councils to sign up to the asset transfer scheme, headed by the government, to help communities to take responsibility for their own destinies. Leeds City Council have not yet allowed any assets to be transferred into public ownership and questions have been asked in the House of Commons.
It was pointed out many times in meetings with the Asset Management team, that the intact, well-maintained, water-tight roof was one of the many assets of the building.
Five months ago, lead was taken from the roof of the building, not stolen, but just left in heaps in the playground. Even though the police were called, and each road approaching the school is monitored by cameras, nobody has been arrested or questioned. (You have to have a mighty set of ladders to get up to the roof !). The lead was taken by the council and, by all accounts, lies in a yard somewhere !
Asset Management have spent between £10,000 and £15,000 per year on security for the building, as well as carrying insurance for public liability. On its own estimate, it would cost £1,200,000 (before the lead was taken from the roof) to rectify the damage caused during the time that Asset Management has had custody of the building.
When RPCC enquired when the roof would be fixed, they were told the matter was in hand and the damage would be made good. Yet here we are at the end of autumn, with the cold wet months of winter still to come, and the school still has no roof.
Would you let weather in through the roofs of one of your assets, why would Leeds City Council ?
The council says “The Mission of the Council is to bring the benefits of a prosperous,vibrant and attractive city to all the people of Leeds”
I’m sick and tired of my council
tax being wasted !
But are you ?
Do we stand buy and watch the iconic building at the centre of our community become derelict, pulled down and replaced with….a supermarket….more student flats ?
What should we do ? What can you do ?
You can help us in a number of ways :
- You can become a member of RPCC by attending one of their meetings and joining up (phone Sue for further details on 07796 784 018)
- You can help to repair the building – clean it and maintain its grounds – donate food or building materials (phone Royal Park Primary School on 07910 887 294)
- Arrange to become a sleeping-in watch person – help maintain building security (phone Royal Park Primary School on 07910 887 294)