Leeds city centre office block plan ‘could be derailed by HS2 high-speed train route’

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A PLANNED new office block development in the heart of Leeds’s so-called ‘South Bank’ could be derailed by the proposed HS2 high speed train route, a panel of senior councillors will be told today.

Developer Canada Life Ltd has put forward preview plans for a seven-storey office building in Meadow Lane, opposite the Crown Point Retail Park. It would be the fourth major office building at the Leeds City Office Park.

However it also sits on the route of the proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) rail proposal as it would arrive into the reconfigured Leeds Station. A report being presented to a Leeds City Council plans panel today says: “The applicant’s agent has made clear that if the route of HS2 is confirmed then the development proposal will not proceed.”

Leeds council officers have now asked the Government’s HS2 Ltd arm for guidance and “safeguarding directions” on pending planning proposals. This is because “at the present time, these directions only extend as far as Crewe,” their report says. HS2 Ltd’s response will be presented at today’s meeting.

As previously reported in the YEP, ambitious plans are underway to remodel Leeds’s main railway station into the biggest transport hub in the North of England. Previous proposals for a new station south of the River Aire for high speed rail services arriving in Leeds were scrapped in favour of integrating the new lines into the existing station.

The planned remodelling will involve new platforms over the river and the transformation of the South Bank of the station. It’s all part of the proposed second phase of HS2 as it extends north of Birmingham to Yorkshire and Manchester.

The council report goes on to say that the Meadow Lane site is “located in an area that is set to see considerable change due to the provision of HS2 and the regeneration of the 22 acre former Tetley Brewery site...on the opposite side of Great Wilson Street”.

The proposals being presented to the panel for initial comment today also include a gym for office workers, 162 parking spaces and a coffee shop. The officers’ report advises that the principle of the development is “considered acceptable in this city centre location”.

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