Thousands of people are set to flock to the city centre tomorrow as the doors open on Leeds’ newest shopping and retail revolution.
The £165m Victoria Gate development by Hammersons, after many years of being in the making, is finally reality and the city is bracing itself for an influx of eager shoppers.
Given the amount of interest in the project, anchored by the city’s first John Lewis branch, Leeds City Council is making special arrangements for traffic and transport.
Temporary road closures will be in place and Welcome to Leeds ambassadors will be on hand to point people in the right direction and help with parking and public transport.
Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds Council, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Victoria Gate to Leeds and it’s fantastic to see such a major new development bringing jobs, investment and visitors to our city.
“This is in retail terms a very significant opening.”
She also said that construction, apprenticeship and ongoing retail employment opportunities in Leeds also benefitted.
Robin Dobson, Director of Retail Development for Hammerson said:
“The scheme is entering the last day before launch and residents and visitors can really see what an outstanding addition to the city Victoria Gate will become.
“There is understandably a huge amount of excitement as the people of Leeds and the surrounding region want to see the city’s latest landmark. As such, we encourage visitors to check both the council and Victoria Leeds’ social media channels during the week for up to date information.”
Vicar Lane will be closed for the day from its junction with Eastgate/The Headrow to George Street as the opening celebration performances and showcase events take place, and George Street will have no public access (except for market traders up to 8.30am).
Public transport and city centre car parks, including the new Victoria Gate multi-storey, are expected to be very busy as are normal morning commutes into the city centre.
Leeds City Ambassadors and The Welcome People (Leeds BID ambassadors) will be out to help welcome and direct people to the opening event. Stores open at 10am.