New homes plan for former girls’ school site

Campaigners are gearing up for another fight to stop developers building on sports facilities at the former Leeds Girls’ High School.

Chartford Homes want to build 24 houses on the playing field and demolish the sports hall and swimming pool to build a convenience store, on the Victoria Road site in Headingley.

It is the latest move in a seven-year long battle, after the school moved out to merge with Leeds Grammar School.

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A previous application by Chartford, to build 25 homes, eight 
flats and a convenience store, 
was withdrawn last year after planning chiefs recommended refusal.

Campaigning group Hyde Park Olympic Legacy (HPOL) – set up against the first application – have vowed to fight the latest plans “all the way” and save the sports facilities for the community.

Councillor Neil Walshaw (Lab, Headingley) said: “There’s a depth of feeling in this community. People simply don’t understand why the developers want to do this.”

HPOL argues Headingley and Hyde Park are already densely populated and do not need more housing. They also say the area’s health problems – such as high childhood obesity and adult diabetes – show the vital need for sports facilities.

“Members are currently working on a business case for a social enterprise to allow schools and the community to use the sports facilities.

Campaigner Sue Buckle said: “The moral arguments are so strong.

“With so much in the news on how essential it is for people to exercise, yet we have this field fenced off and swimming pool boarded up. It’s not exactly the Olympic legacy we’ve been promised.”

A Chartford Homes spokesman said a number of “positive changes” had been made, through discussions with planners, to address concerns which led to the first plan’s refusal.

A proposal to build 94 homes on the main school’s site was approved last year.