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Water taxi plans for Leeds

How Leeds Dock complex could look

How Leeds Dock complex could look

Plans for a major new office complex in Leeds could see commuters travelling to work by boat.

Allied London has submitted a planning application to turn the former Alea Casino at the old Clarence Dock complex into a 70,000 sq ft block called The Engine.

Under the proposals the company is in negotiations to introduce “water taxis” to and from the city centre.

It hopes the development, which will also include restaurants and other leisure facilities, will help breathe new life into the struggling area.

According to the planning application, the site’s location makes it ideal for water transport.

It said: “The site is adjacent to the River Aire and there is potential for a Water Taxi service to connect New Dock with Brewery Wharf and Granary Wharf.

“This will offer a direct route between New Dock and the city centre for commuters, visitors and tourists.

“Negotiations are currently proceeding to secure an operator for this service.”

Clarence Dock failed to live up to its pre-launch hype after opening shortly before the financial crash in 2007.

Many of its retail units were never occupied and prices of its upmarket flats have plummeted in the years since.

Allied London rebranded Clarence Dock as New Dock after acquiring the site at the start of 2012.

In a further blow the casino closed the following year, along with restaurants Leeds Kitchen and The Bird.

Last year the company unveiled proposals for new offices, gallery and exhibition facilities and retail and restaurant businesses. It has now renamed the complex Leeds Dock.

The planning application for The Engine was submitted to Leeds City Council last week.

Chief executive Michael Ingall said: “The volume of this property is vast, it really is a super building.”

John Cooper, of Deloitte Real Estate, which prepared the planning application, said it could accommodate up to 5,000 workers.

“Combined with the new water taxi and bus links due to start running in summer, a currently under-utilised area of Leeds is destined to become a thriving business and leisure destination,” he added.

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