Planning green light for sports hub, surgery and pharmacy

A former school site in Leeds will be transformed into a community sports hub following approval from planners.

Proposals for the new development – on land in Holbeck once occupied by Matthew Murray High School – were passed at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s south and west plans panel.

Work is now expected to start next year on the council-led project, which will include three full-size artificial grass football pitches, two multi-use games areas and a two-storey building with facilities such as changing rooms, a gym and a café.

The building will also be home to a GP surgery and pharmacy.

Other elements of the scheme will include creation of a children’s play area and improvements to a portion of existing green space at the site, which covers 6.3 hectares and sits off Brown Lane East and Ingram Road.

Outdoor seating areas, footpaths and a segregated cycle route are also planned, along with a 267-space car park and dozens of bike storage bays.

The scheme is one of three new sports hubs planned for Leeds as part of the national Parklife programme, which aims to deliver improved facilities for grassroots football using funding from the Football Association, the Premier League, Sport England, the Department for Culture, Media & Sport and the Football Foundation charity.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, active lifestyles and culture, said: “This is a key milestone for a scheme that underlines our commitment to the health and wellbeing of everyone living in Leeds.

“The new hub will be a significant asset, not just for residents in Holbeck but also those in surrounding areas and indeed the whole of south Leeds.

“Crucially, its facilities will be affordable and accessible for all, providing more opportunities for the kind of physical activity and exercise that has really important health benefits.

“It will also have a positive social impact by bringing people together, whether that’s through participating in sport or simply spending time in its attractive outdoor spaces.

“I look forward to seeing the development taking shape and eventually making a lasting difference to Holbeck and Leeds.”

Funding for the scheme will be provided from a range of sources, with the bulk coming via external grant support.

Once built, the hub will be leased on a long-term basis to a not-for-profit trust and managed by an outside operator.

Profits generated will be invested back into improving other community football facilities across Leeds, where there is currently a shortfall of full-size artificial pitches.

Parklife hubs are also planned for Thorpe Park in east Leeds and Woodhall Playing Fields near Pudsey, with another already up-and-running at Bodington Playing Fields in Adel.

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