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Bulldozers descend on historic Leeds city centre buildings as Victoria Gate beckons

Demolition work has started for the �150m Victoria Gate development near Millgarth Police Station, Leeds city centre. Picture: James Hardisty

Demolition work has started for the �150m Victoria Gate development near Millgarth Police Station, Leeds city centre. Picture: James Hardisty

DEMOLITION work has started on several historic buildings in Leeds city centre, paving the way for the £150m Victoria Gate development.

As reported in the YEP previously, several old buildings - including a century old textile factory - are being bulldozed to make way for the project, as well as for additional car parking spaces.

There have been some objections, with heritage watchdog the Leeds Civic Trust saying just last month that it was “strongly opposed to the demolition of buildings of quality”. Buildings which will soon be no more include the Millgarth police station building, the old Vicar Lane bus station, the Lyons Works clothing factory building - which was built in 1914 - and Provident House.

The Victoria Gate scheme, spearheaded by developer Hammerson, is being billed as the latest piece in the jigsaw of the complete regeneration of Leeds city centre. Anchored by a flagship John Lewis store, it could be open by Autumn 2016 and is expected to provide 1,000 jobs in retail and construction.

As the wrecking ball descended, we asked YEP readers for their views, via the paper’s social media channels.

While many mourned the loss of large pieces of the city’s history, others looked forward to the future.

Leah Holmes, via Faceboook, said: “I love the old buildings, but new shops create more jobs.”

Caroline White was less enthusiastic, saying: “It’s disgusting that iconic symbols of Leeds are being flattened for another shopping centre we don’t need. Leeds just does not appreciate its history anymore. These ends of Eastgate should have remained and been incorporated into anything new that was built.”

Ann Geldard said simply: “Demolition of the character of Leeds”,

Mike O’Sullivan, also via Facebook, said: “Sad to see a nice building go, but if it brings prosperity, then so be it.”

And reflecting on the departure of Hoagy’s bar, Phillip Leech said: “Sad sad day. Spent most of my teen years in Hoagy’s #goodtimes.”

 

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