A campaign for a children’s play area on the old Whingate Primary School site in Armley is gaining momentum.
As we reported last week, a public meeting is being held tomorrow (Thursday, January 14) to discuss the future of the site, which is empty after the building was demolished last year.
The former school building, which was vandalised and had fallen into neglect prior to its demolition, most recently housed the West Leeds Family Learning Centre.
Armley councillors Alison Lowe, Alice Smart and Jim McKenna have called the public meeting for 5.30pm-7pm at Swallow Hill Academy tomorrow to discuss how the empty site could be used in future. Ideas so far include housing or sports club facilities – but support for much-needed play or green space in the area is growing.
The Whingate area of Armley includes terraced back to back properties with no gardens or existing play provision in the immediate area.
A Facebook page called ‘Campaign for a children’s play area on the Whingate Primary school site‘ is leading calls for this to change.
The campaign page, which so far has 128 likes, says:
“Since September 2015 I have been communicating with Leeds City Council for a play area and green space for local children and residents.
“I grew up in the street next door to this site, I didn’t have a garden and I know that me and my friends would have loved an area to play and run around safely.
“If we can show enough support at the council consultation evenings this wish might come true for all the kids living there today including my boy who spends lots of his time at my parents who still live in the next street.”
Posts of support from local residents include:
“It’s sorely needed, there is absolutely no space for children to play and most of them don’t have gardens either.”
“I for one think it’s a brilliant idea and maybe it would stop the dickheads causing trouble out of boredom. This could be something everyone all ages can enjoy.”
“A safe area for our future. There is no bigger cause.”
Concerns about anti-social behaviour at any new park have also been raised.
Council officers are also due to attend the next Armley Forum meeting on January 19 at Armley Library to discuss future options for the site.
As reported by the Dispatch in November, Cllr McKenna told an Armley Forum meeting that the former Whingate School building had fallen into disrepair and anti-social behaviour ‘had been causing a lot of problems’ in the area prior to demolition.