£25m rebuild of Wetherby High School gets the go ahead

Wet  Wetherby High School.(09040315f)Wet  Wetherby High School.(09040315f)
Wet Wetherby High School.(09040315f)

Leeds City Council’s executive board approved the plans at a meeting on December 15, after hearing that the building was “beyond repair”.

The decision was the culmination of more than a decade of work and will give pupils and staff “the buildings they deserve”. Wetherby High School will be completely rebuilt – at a cost of around £25m – with an expected completion date of September 2024. It follows a warning that the school was currently in such a poor state of repair that it may be forced to close in the coming years due to health and safety concerns if nothing was done. To raise money for the rebuild, the council will look at selling off some of the school’s land for housing, in the hopes that it will raise around £9m-£12m to go towards the rebuild.

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During the meeting, James Lewis said: “This is a culmination of years of work trying to rebuild Wetherby High School. The plan is to rebuild the high school on a smaller site. It’s been a good piece of work – parts of the school date back to World War II, making it one of the oldest schools in Leeds.”

Coun Alan Lamb (Con) added: “I can give wholehearted support for this, it is the result of 14 years of hard work. Coun (Jonathan) Pryor (LCC executive member for education) has been willing to work and engage with us. It’s an ambitious, complicated and complex scheme, but it is completely the right thing to do. This will give pupils, staff and governors the building they deserve.”

The 900-place school would be built on a 10.5 acre plot. The current site is 18.3 acres.

A report by planning officers stated that Wetherby High School’s current condition is “extremely poor”, while more than £2.5m has been spent on maintenance work and asbestos removal in the past five years. It added: “The school is beyond economic repair and if investment into the building is not forthcoming, there is a risk that the local authority may need to consider bringing forward a proposal to close the school as part of a statutory process.”

The sixth form, which stopped taking on new pupils in 2019, is not “financially sustainable”, and will not be included in the rebuild.

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