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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Controversy over Pudsey sixth form college plans

Plans to build a new sixth form college in west Leeds could be approved next week, despite objections from the local community.

A proposal put forward by the Luminate Education Group and three Leeds secondary schools would see the new college built next to Crawshaw Academy, on Kent Road in Pudsey.

The new facility would cater for 600 students aged between 16 and 18, and would employ around 45 members of staff.

The applicants say the college is needed and would offer a “natural” next step for pupils leaving Crawshaw Academy, Co-op Academy Priesthorpe and the Leeds West Academy after Year 11.

But alongside 26 expressions of support for the scheme, 18 people have objected, including Sport England, who are unhappy that the college would be built across a sports pitch.

In their application, Luminate insisted there is a “surplus” of playing pitches in Pudsey and that its existing pitches to the north of Crawshaw Academy “are more than adequate”.

But other concerns raised by opponents include increased noise and disturbance and the lack of public transport connections to and from the site.

It’s feared that poor bus services in particular may force more students to drive and prompt excessive traffic in the area.

However, Leeds City Council’s planning officers have advised that the application be approved, when a committee of councillors meets to discuss it next Thursday.

The committee have the final say on whether or not the college can be built.

But in their report, published this week, officers said:  “It is considered that the public benefits of the proposed development outweigh the loss of the protected playing fields by providing a purpose-built 600-place sixth form facility which will meet current and future further education needs in the catchment area.

“This is a factor which weighs heavily in favour of granting planning permission.”

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