‘Protect city’s skyline’: Leeds Civic Trust chief’s plea to store giant

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Civic chiefs have hit out at proposals for a “Hollywood” style sign on top of a new major flagship department store in Leeds city centre.

Leeds’s multi-million John Lewis store at the Victoria Gate outlet is on track to open this autumn.

But Leeds Civic Trust has objected to plans John Lewis Partnership has submitted for a two-and-a-half metre sign on top of the building claiming it will “clutter” the cityscape of Leeds. In a letter to Leeds City Council’s plans panel Leeds Civic Trust chair Dr Kevin Grady said: “We wish to maintain our most strong objection to the roof-top ‘Hollywood-style’ sign.

“We feel that it is akin to placing a sign saying ‘cathedral’ on the roof of St Paul’s and would have an adverse effect on visual amenity. Our contention is that by the time shoppers have got here, they pretty well know where they are going. It would be far more cost-effective to spend money on better ‘signposting’. The sign will be an intrusion when seen against the spires and domes of the market and our historic churches.”

He added: “Trust members are absolutely delighted that John Lewis will be opening in the autumn and heartily welcome the boost that the store will give to the city’s retail offer, but please can we not have this clutter.”

A report to planning chiefs said the design of the sign had been revised following concerns by officers.

A spokeswoman for John Lewis Partnership said: “John Lewis is investing £35m in its new shop in Leeds and signage is an important element in the overall presentation of the shop. We have consulted with the Leeds Civic Trust and all other relevant parties and now await the decision of the Plans Panel.”

Sarah Champion MP

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