Update regarding Fullerton Park and Matthew Murray sites to be discussed by executive board
A recommendation that a new community sports hub originally earmarked for a site next to Leeds United’s Elland Road Stadium is relocated to the former home of Matthew Murray High School, is set to be discussed by senior councillors of the council’s executive board next week.
The potential change in location of the ‘Parklife’ initiative from Fullerton Park to the old Matthew Murray school site reflects ongoing discussions between Leeds United and Leeds City Council after the club earlier in the year expressed a desire to potentially increase the capacity of Elland Road in the future. Following an assessment, which included consultation with local stakeholders, the council believes that the old Matthew Murray High School site would provide the best place in which the facilities originally outlined for Fullerton Park as part of the Parklife scheme could be delivered and enhanced, whilst also offering the operational requirements that are needed for an initiative of this scale.
Facilities outlined as part of Parklife would now include; four 3G artificial grass pitches; community café; changing rooms; a gym and a NHS facility which will include treatment rooms and pharmacy. The project which is expected to be completed in 2023, will also play a key role in meeting the council’s ambition to provide high quality sports and community facilities in the south Leeds area.
The Football Foundation, which is the main funder of the Parklife programme on four sites in the city and NHS partners have given their full support to the proposed change in location as have local stakeholders, who believe it will better suit the needs of the local community of south Leeds. Leeds United have also expressed their backing for the new proposed site of Parklife. The club has also agreed to cover the required design development and site investigation fees and costs that will be needed to help facilitate any potential move.
If the proposal is agreed by members of the executive board, a plan put forward for a new Leeds United training ground on the Matthew Murray site will not progress at the club’s request. The council continues to be committed to engaging with the club regarding any options they may consider for a new training ground in the near future.
As part of the recommendations included in the report, the council will also if approved, agree to work in partnership with Leeds United Football Club on a revised masterplan for the Elland Road Stadium and Fullerton Park area with view that further draft proposals are brought back to the Executive Board before a public consultation at a later date.
Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“The fantastic return of Leeds United to the Premier League has proved to be a great boost to not just fans, but also the city as a whole. We remain committed to working with the club constructively in terms of any ambitions they might have in terms of increasing the capacity of Elland Road in the future, which is why following discussions, we agreed to look at what options could be available to move the proposed Parklife project from Fullerton Park to another location.
“The Parklife community sporting hub remains a key part of our aim to ensure that a range of top class facilities are available in south Leeds, and we were committed to ensure that as part of any assessment work in terms of finding a new location for the project, that no facilities would be lost to those proposed for Fullerton Park. I am pleased to say that this is the case, and we are confident that the Matthew Murray site will be an ideal location for Parklife, a view which is shared by local stakeholders, the Football Foundation, Leeds United and our partners at the NHS.
“If approved by the executive board, we will seek to move forward with a redesign of the plans for Parklife, before bringing them back to the executive board. Local people can be assured that any plans will be subject to a full public consultation process.”
To view the executive board report, please see: www.democracy.leeds.gov.uk