A new Leeds park, performance 'amphitheatre' and outdoor gym could be built at the demolished Royal Park School site

The former Royal Park School plot in Hyde Park, Leeds. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
The former Royal Park School plot in Hyde Park, Leeds. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

"Exciting" plans for a public park at a former Leeds school site have been submitted 15 years after it closed.

Leeds City Council planners have lodged proposals for new play facilities, fitness equipment, a climbing wall, a garden and performance space at the old Royal Park School land in Hyde Park.

The locked-up Royal Park School plot in Hyde Park. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The locked-up Royal Park School plot in Hyde Park. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

An existing multi-use games area next to the site is also set to be improved.

The school shut in 2004 and has since been demolished, and community campaigners have long fought for the site to remain in the use of residents.

Coun Neil Walshaw said that he and fellow Headingley and Hyde Park councillors are "super excited" about the plans - which are part of a "comprehensive" package of new leisure facilities across the ward.

"After all of this I think it would be really positive and look really good," he said.

"It's about making Hyde Park a really fun centre that enables us - it's a hackneyed phrase - to give something back to permanent residents who live in a very densely-populated area, which is not without its problems."

He added: "I'm a big believer in the value of culture, sport and play [to be] just really good for people. By the time it's finished Hyde Park will be really on the map."

The area is heavily populated with students, but there are also many young families, whose views helped to form the proposals.

Background on Royal Park School closure

Plans include space for a community orchard and planting bed with a mix of fruit trees available for people to harvest as well as offering opportunities for training programmes and encouraging healthy eating.

There would be a flexible performance space, possibly creating an "amphitheatre effect" opposite the Royal Park pub, planning documents state.

Various slides, a Parkour or "free-running" area, climbing equipment, "giant" swings, outdoor gym and new entrances are also shown on blueprints.

The former gatekeeper's house, which is still standing, could also be refurbished for community use.

And the goal ends of the existing multi-use games area opposite the Brudenell Social Club, which documents say are "becoming tired", would also be replaced.

Along with the proposals at the former schools, upgrades to leisure facilities on Woodhouse Moor and Cinder Moor and other areas of the ward are under way or being planned.

"A bit of change is inevitable, we can't live in a museum," said Coun Walshaw, who is also chairman of the council's North and East Plans Panel.

The various new schemes are costing roughly £1m from Section 106 agreements - which oblige planners to contribute funds to improve areas they develop in - and other capital cash earmarked for ward spending.

Coun Mohammed Rafique, the council's executive board member with responsibility for active lifestyles and environment said: “The space at the former Royal Park school site presented a great opportunity to create a space which combines recreational facilities with environmental benefits whilst becoming a focal point and excellent resource for the local community.

“We have submitted designs which reflect this ambition to the plans panel, and are waiting for sign off before moving on with the scheme.”