Two multi-million pound retail developments in Leeds are expected to get the go-ahead today
Planning chiefs will consider an application for the £130m Victoria Gate scheme, which features a flagship John Lewis store, a designer arcade with up to 30 stores, restaurants, cafes and casino, and a multi-storey car park to replace the existing Millgarth police station.
The city plans panel is also expected to give the final green-light to the £400m Thorpe Park business and retail park development.
Both schemes promise huge economic boosts and thousands of jobs for the city. However, they haven’t been without controversy and mutual tensions.
As reported in the YEP last week, bosses behind the Victoria Gate development put in an eleventh hour objection to the Thorpe Park scheme, forcing the plans panel to defer the decision for further discussions.
Representatives for Victoria Gate and John Lewis said the out-of-town Thorpe Park scheme could “prejudice the delivery of the key element of the future vision for the city centre.”
A report to be presented to planning chiefs today says Victoria Gate is of “strategic importance to the city of Leeds” and could be “a new landmark”.
“The scheme would play an important role in reinforcing both the regional and national status of Leeds to the advantage of both retailers and consumers,” the report adds. “The scheme... would comprehensively regenerate and redevelop an extensive part of the city centre which has for a significant period suffered from a lack of investment”.
Leeds City Council’s executive member for planning, councillor Peter Gruen, said: “Thorpe Park and Victoria Gate are two very important projects for the Leeds and wider economy in terms of regeneration, job creation, retail offer and profile. In such a difficult economic climate it is a measure of what Leeds has to offer as a leading UK city that developers are planning such major projects here.”