Big plans for Leeds pub refurbishment to create ‘timeless ambience’

The Skyrack, Headingley.
The Skyrack, Headingley.
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A popular pub in a student heartland of Leeds is set for a major refurbishment.

Possible new features at The Skyrack – a stop-off on the fabled Otley Run bar crawl – are hoped to “create a timeless ambience”.

Greene King PLC has placed an application with Leeds City Council for a number of changes.

In planning notes Kyle Swift, of the Hunter Patel Creative Group, wrote: “We feel, as the designers, that the proposed works within this project will lift the pub in terms of atmosphere and reputation within the community.”

Planned alterations at the Headingley pub, on St Michael’s Road, include a new entrance, bar at the lower section and outdoor seating.

The bar alterations “will make way for a new ‘timeless’ backfitting taking the pub back to its roots by installing 60mm thk. hardwood faced side cheeks and hardwood timber spindles and new cornice detailing,” Mr Swift writes.

A new toilet with wheelchair access is also proposed.

And the Grade II-listed pub’s stone exterior is also due to be given a clean.

Other planning documents state: “An overall refurbishment is necessary as the layout, furniture and finishes have become ‘tired’ as a result of a long period without a refurbishment.”

It adds: “The design philosophy of the proposal is to interfere with the authentic charm that already exists as little as possible but recognises the need for the development to enhance the existing space.”

City planners are due to make a decision about whether the application should be approved by August 23.

The pub derives its name from the former Skyrack “wapentake” - a subdivision of certain northern and midland English counties – based in Headingley.

“Skyrack” apparently comes from the Old English phrase scir ac, meaning “Shire Oak”. Wapentake meetings are thought to have been held under the oak, which finally collapsed in 1941.

There is a plaque to commemorate it on the outside of the garden wall of the Original Oak pub, also named in its honour, directly opposite The Skyrack.

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