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Leeds West Academy expansion plans set for green light – despite some local concerns

Proposals to expand Leeds West Academy from a capacity of 1,200 to 1,500 students will be discussed by councillors on the decision-making executive board next week.

Council proposals suggest increasing the capacity at year 7 from 240 to 300 with effect from September 2022, in a bid to meet rising demand for places at the Rodley school.

But a council report says a public consultation on the expansion, which was carried out earlier this year, saw 60% or respondents ‘strongly opposed’ or ‘somewhat opposed’ the proposal.

Concerns included the impact on local roads, and a negative impact on teaching and learning. The council says the proposals will not have an adverse impact on either of those issues. A total of 87 consultation responses were received.

The report says central government has allocated around £5.3m for the expansion, but early feasibility studies indicate the final cost is likely to be lower. It concludes:

“All concerns raised during consultation have been considered, and on balance, the proposal remains strong and addresses the need for school places in the area.

“There is an identified need for additional secondary places in the West area of Leeds to meet anticipated demand over future years. Leeds West Academy is popular and consistently over-subscribed.

“The school is located in an area of high demographic need and the proposed 60 additional permanent year 7 places would address some of the anticipated future local pressure in West Leeds.”

The proposed £5.3m expansion scheme would also be subject to planning permission.

As reported by the Dispatch earlier this month, £110,000 works have already been approved to support a bulge of 2FE for the academic year 2020/21 in September.

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