By David Mackie
Campaigners fighting the development of green land in Headingley have today said they will continue to occupy the site, despite a possession order being acquired by the landowners.
The land, at Grosvenor Mount, is owned by the University of Leeds, and was formerly used as a biological research facility and botanical garden.
However, in 2013 the University was granted planning permission for the construction of seven terraced houses on the site.
A local campaign group, Leeds Community Project (LCP), has sprung up in opposition to the building and members have occupied the site for several weeks.
In the wake of a court hearing on Friday, LCP have said they are committed to non-violently resisting an eviction.
Alice from the LCP, who didn’t want her surname revealed, said: “We don’t want land owned by a public institution sold for private profit.
“The land has great potential as a community space, which is open to everyone. It is very biodiverse – we’ve seen bats and owls on site. It’s also perfect for fairs, workshops and other educational activities for local people of all ages.
“The University hasn’t really engaged with these ideas.”
The possession order required the site to be left by noon yesterday. The occupiers are currently living full time in the former science buildings and glass houses on site, all of which would be demolished to make way for the new houses.
They have been gathering support for their cause, with over 900 signatures on their petition calling for the halting of the sale and the opening of the site to the community.
A University spokeswoman said that they support many other initiatives which offer public green space for staff, students and local people. She said: “The University’s sustainability team is exploring the possibility of identifying other sites which might benefit the local community.”