Latest Planning News
Leeds is constantly changing and it is sometimes difficult to keep up with all the different projects which are going on within the city. This page provides snapshots of some of the more interesting or controversial developments which have been discussed at Trust Planning Committee meetings or as part of the Trust's extensive networking.
- We enjoyed an informal presentation from a team representing arts organisations on Quarry Hill, suggesting ways in which the venues in the area could be integrated better into the city centre. Demolition of Millgarth Police Station and the construction of John Lewis will bring more people to the area but there is a need to remove the barrier effect of St Peter's Street - reduce traffic flows, provide wide 'direct' crossings and make open parts of Quarry Hill more attractive on a temporary basis until further development takes place.
- The future of the River Aire through Leeds has been championed by the Waterfront Association (a gathering of riverside businesses and interested groups) and Aire Action Leeds (a campaigning and action group seeking to improve and make better use of the river corrider). However, these groups have become less focussed in recent years and the Trust is helping to relaunch them for 2013 - the proposed Flood Alleviation Scheme will be a catalyst for change if it is given the go ahead.
- The Trust has had a long involvement wiith plans for revitalising Kirkgate and continues to participate in various groups and working parties - we are now hoping that a Heritage Lottery Fund grant will enable work to start in 2013.
- We had a presentation on plans for the NGT system (trolley bus) from Holt Park to Stourton - more information can be found on our Transport pages.
- Members of the Planning Committee visited the Yorkshire Post building as the newspaper's staff were packing up to leave - it will be difficult to find an appropriate new use for this distinctive building. Should it be kept or demolished - there are many conflicting views on its merit.
- The Trust responded to consultation on the future of Kirkgate Market and further details can be found on our Market pages.
- As part of the Trust's involvement in the promotion of the City's amenities, we were represented at a round-table discussion amongst the leaders of the cultural community - there was a general view that the City needs to do more to promote what must be the UK's greatest cultural offer outside London.
- Discussions with the developers of Kirkstall Forge gave us some information on their current programme: a planning application for Phase 1 (station, western access road and overall design framework) in early 2013, a start on site in late 2013 and the station opening in December 2014.
- There is a Government initiative to introduce Neighbourhoood Plans as a way of enabling residents and businesses to have a say in how their locality develops. A large number of these are now underway around Leeds, with parish councils and community groups taking the lead. Leeds City Council is able to provide some support and its website has pages on Neighbourhood Planning.
- The Trust has been given a preview of revised plans for that part of the Eastgate Quarter site lying to the south of Eastgate. These show a revised arcade layout which will work as Phase 1 of a larger scheme, the John Lewis store and a new car park on the site of Millgarth Police Station - the NGT is realigned to follow the line of Lady Beck, leaving a small greenspace alongside the Eastgate roundabout. The John Lewis store design is still developing but as now envisaged features a strong diagonal grid in reconstituted stone, with spaces filled by glazing and 'terracotta' detail panels as appropriate - it looks most distinctive. There will be consultation on the plans in Spring 2013, with a planning application in Summer 2013 - a start on site in 2014 will lead to opening for Christmas 2016.
- You may have seen the 'vicious' yellow paintwork which appeared recently on the Chinese restaurant at the Corn Exchange entrance to Kirkgate Market - this has been carried out without consent on what is a Listed building and we have joined others in asking Leeds Council to take action against the occupiers.
- The Trust had a presentation from the owners of the White Rose Centre near Morley, who are to seek consent for extensions to Debenhams and Primark, a new multiscreen cinema and a few new shops and restaurants. Although the centre is a fait accompli, we support the Council strategy of concentrating development on city, town and district centres, and only allowing more out-of-town shops if there is capacity in the retail market. We feel that this is not the case at present but will await the applicant's impact assessment before making a final comment.
- We understand that there have been significant changes to the Tesco scheme planned for Kirkstall lights but we have not been able to see any revised plans. We are also trying to find out about plans for student housing on Woodhouse Square and housing on the former East Moor Children's Home site in Adel.
- Other plans coming forward that we would like to comment upon are a new Undergraduate Library in Woodhouse Lane and new student accommodation in a 17 floor tower block opposite the Yorkshire Post building in Wellington Street.
- There is an exhibition showcasing the work of the Planning Committee subgroups in the Wharf Street offices - subject to staff availability and room bookings, this may be viewed during shop opening hours.
- There is some discussion over the future of the Yorkshire Post Building on Wellington Street - some think it it a fine example of 1960s architecture while others can't wait for it to be demolished. You can add your thoughts on the LCT Facebook or Twitter pages.
- We have decided to try and find out why it is that fountains do not work in Leeds, while operating quite happily in Sheffield, Bradford and Manchester!
- Earlier in the year, the LCT commented on plans for the conversion of the Algernon Firth building off Great George Street to student accommodation - we were concerned that the proposal could compromise the strong design feature of a brick band but the developer Rushbond has now obtained consent for a design which avoids the need for inserting new windows at this level.
- We looked at plans for the new South Station Entrance at Granary Wharf and noted that this will now include upgrades to the surrounding streets.
- The committee has had a presentation regarding a potential development on the site of the ill-fated Lumiere towers in Wellington Street - it would be good if this derelict site could be brought back into use.
- Its new owners, Allied London plc, have drawn up new plans for the revitalisation of Clarence Dock. Now to be know as New Dock (its original name!), plans include new catering/bar areas, more offices, public greenspace and a comprehensive events programme to encorage more people to visit.
- In line with a planning brief issued by Leeds CC, plans have been prepared for a new city centre park to be constructed on the Sovereign Street car park (former Queen's Hall) - outline designs show extensive grassed areas with potential links to the shopping area through the railway arches and to the south bank of the river by a new footbridge (if funds allow).
- As part of the scheme above, a new regional office for KPMG will be constructed between the park and Neville Street - a planning application will be submitted shortly with completion due by 2015.
- In 2007, planning permission was granted for a 800 flat scheme with a 33 floor tower at Greenbank (Whitehall Road/Globe Road, Holbeck) but this was one of the first casualities of the 'credit crunch'. Developer Taylor Wimpey has shown the Trust new plans which feature only 600 flats, more 2/3 bed units, a 17 floor tower and commercial space at lower levels. We were encouraged by the commitment to the project but felt it needed further development - enhanced pedestrian links to the city centre, including a canal bridge, will be vital.
- Leeds City College is a key teaching establishment working from a number of sites around the city (and in Keighley). Many of these are not appropriate for modern education and the Director of Physical Resources talked the Trust through the College's property strategy. The most exciting scheme is the conversion of the Alf Cooke Printworks in Hunslet to a vocational training centre, using the old print halls as cafe and library space and the balconies for teaching - work is now on site for an opening in September 2013 (more details here).