A petition opposing Leeds City Council’s proposals to close the visitor centre in Pudsey Park and move the playground has collected more than 1,100 signatures in just 24 hours.
WLD reported yesterday that plans to axe the West Leeds Country Park Visitor Centre in its current form and replace it with a cafe will be the subject of a public consultation starting on Monday.
According to local councillors, proposals also include the demolition of the glass house housing exotic plants next door and moving the popular play park to the former glass house site.
The play park would be reduced by two thirds in size and the original site would be used for a new garden and grassed area.
A petition opposing the move has been launched by Pudsey resident Dawn Seary, who is the Conservative Party Candidate at next May’s Leeds City Council elections.
Mrs Seary said:
“The amazing response has demonstrated the depth of feeling Pudsey folk have over these proposals.
“Leeds City Council have now promised a ‘consultation’, though based on their responses to previous consultations this does not fill me with confidence.
“If they had ever visited the Park, or spoken to residents, they wouldn’t need to consult – the views of Pudsey residents are very clear indeed!”
The petition, which had 1,150 signatures at the time of writing, can be found here.
Labour candidate calls for ‘full consultation’ over proposals
Labour’s candidate for Pudsey, Mark Sewards, has lobbied the council to make sure a full consultation takes place with residents, who know the area best, before any decision is made. Mr Sewards said:
“I welcome the decision to consult Pudsey residents about these proposals. It’s vital that residents have their say on any changes to the Visitor Centre. I will not relent in lobbying the council to ensure these views are heard above all else.
“After a decade of Conservative cuts and billions lost in funding, Leeds City Council is being forced by the government to make some extremely difficult decisions. I want to ensure that local people continue enjoying our wonderful park despite the funding cuts passed down by the government.
“The full details of the proposal are yet to be released to the public. Once they are, we must ensure that any plans benefit the park and local residents. If the centre must close, I would suggest to the council that we work together as a community to find funding to introduce a new education and sustainability project to compliment any café. This should be free for all to access.
“However, no decision should be made until the full public consultation has taken place. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be urging residents to join me in making sure local voices are heard on this important issue.”
Leeds City Council statement on ‘severe financial pressures’…
The proposals come as the council faces a £119m budget shortfall for 2021/22, thanks partly to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on council services and revenue collection.
Leeds City Council yesterday issued a statement, which said:
“Due to the continued and severe financial pressures that Leeds City Council continues to face, a number of proposals have been put forward to reduce the deficit in the 2021-2022 budget.
“This includes a proposal to close the West Leeds Country Park Visitor Centre in Pudsey Park and potentially open a new café’ on the site.
“A public consultation on the proposal will open next week, and all comments received will be fully considered before any final decisions are made.”
The popular centre in Pudsey Park keeps captive indigenous species ranging from birds, mammals and fish and explains the different habitats in the park and how they benefit wildlife.
It also offers guided tours and workshops for school or educational groups.
WLD reported yesterday than more than 1,000 people have signed a petition to stop stop Leeds City Council closing the Richmond House care home in Farsley.