Green-light for ‘sky park’ and bars plan for historic Leeds viaduct

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An ambitious plan to turn a disused Leeds viaduct into a vibrant ‘high-line’ park with bars and restaurants in its arches has been given glowing approval by a decision-making panel.

The blueprint for Monk Bridge off Whitehall Road was describe by one plans chief as the “most exciting” application he had ever been asked to consider.

It is part-inspired by the High Line, a 1.45-mile-long park built on disused railway in New York City, itself based on a similar scheme completed in Paris.

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The Leeds proposal also features 307 homes in five blocks ranging from 11 to 21 storeys in height on the same parcel of land.

Julian D’Arcy, principal at developer Foundation Real Estate, said: “We are delighted to have received planning consent for the regeneration of the Monk Bridge site, and especially look forward to restoring the viaduct at its heart.”

He added: “The support from Leeds City Council, neighbouring businesses and the wider community demonstrates the importance placed in celebrating the city’s past whilst championing its future, and we are already gearing up to start construction this summer to deliver on this.”

Welcoming the scheme, councillor James McKenna, chairman of Leeds Council’s City Plans Panel, said: “I have to say that in 30 years of sitting on planning, this is the most exciting scheme I have come across.”

Coun Peter Gruen said the design had an “amazing wow factor”.

“You are doing something quite exceptional, something that will be a legacy,” he said.

Coun Asghar Khan added: “It will be like welcoming a bit of New York in Leeds.”