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MP Mulholland: “West Park Centre site must be used for new University Technical College”

September 4, 2014 6:15 PM

In the House of Commons on Tuesday, local MP Greg Mulholland raised with Chancellor George Osborne the need for Leeds City Council to use the site of the former West Park centre for the city's new University Technical College (UTC).

Last month, Osborne announced he had approved a new UTC for Leeds, which Mulholland has long campaigned for.

Speaking at Treasury Questions in the Commons, Mulholland welcomed the Chancellor's announcement, the boost it will provide for building on the 2,000 apprenticeships created since 2010, and asked "Considering that there is a spare Leeds city council site, does he not think it is time that Leeds city council got on and built one?" Osborne said he "very much agree[d]" with Mulholland and said "there are ambitious proposals in Leeds".

A site for the UTC is months away from being agreed and Mulholland has long called for using the Spen Lane site of the former West Park community centre, recently demolished by Leeds City Council. The Department for Education are also understood to prefer a Council-owned site.

Commenting afterwards, Mulholland said:

"The wider regions in London, Birmingham and Manchester each have at least two UTCs established already. Because of Leeds City Council dragging their heels, we are months away from even finding a site for the first UTC in Leeds. With the Chancellor also urging the Council to get on and build the UTC, I hope they will move quickly and make use of the site of the former West Park centre.

"The West Park Centre was a real community hub and local residents and community groups who had used it were forced to seek alternative accommodation. Building the UTC on the Spen Lane site will also enable the college to be used by as a community hub for residents in North Leeds. This would be fantastic news and really should have happened nearly two years ago in order to preserve the community spirit that had existed in the area."