Recession puts Leeds shopping centre on hold

A £650m shopping development planned for the centre of Leeds has been put on hold.

The much-heralded Trinity Quarter - set to be Leeds's biggest shopping complex - was to be completed by Christmas 2010.

Construction work began at the site over a year ago.

Now, however, developers say the current economic downturn has forced the postponement of the scheme.

It is now hoped the centre will be open for business by the end of 2012.

Bosses at Trinity Quarter Developments today confirmed that work on the site had stopped but said they remained committed to the scheme.

Development director Bob De Barr said: "We firmly believe that Trinity Leeds will deliver a quality shopping destination for Leeds.

"Difficult decisions regarding the delivery of the scheme have had to be made in the context of the wider economy.

"We have thought long and hard about the best way to deliver the scheme and everything suggests that 2012 will be a more appropriate delivery date for all stakeholders."

The new Trinity Quarter will, in theory, transform the area around Briggate, Commercial Street, Albion Street and Boar Lane.

It will see the revamp of the former Burton and Trinity arcades and link them to a new remodelled Leeds Shopping Plaza on Albion Street.

With 1 million sq ft of floor space and a spectacular glass roof, it is to include more than 120 retail units and a cinema.

Heralded as a major step forward for the city, experts said it would make Leeds the fourth biggest retail centre behind London, Birmingham and Glasgow - leapfrogging its long-term rival Manchester.

Mr De Barr added: "Although there will be a temporary stop to works on site, behind the scenes we will continue to work hard on progressing our plans for Trinity Leeds.

"Our key focus will be to maintain the momentum achieved so far in drawing top retailers, restaurant and leisure operators to the city."

He said planning applications for the remodelling of Albion Street were soon to be submitted to Leeds City Council - a sign they were pressing ahead with the development.

The Trinity Quarter is the latest in a long line of schemes to fall prey to the recession.

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