The man who helped to shape Leeds retires

Striking plans for Victoria Gate in Leeds.

Striking plans for Victoria Gate in Leeds.

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he has helped to shape the Leeds city skyline as we know it.

But Phil Crabtree, the city’s chief planning officer, will hang up his notepad following his final planning meeting today.

Phil, who took on the role eight years ago and is now set to retire, has overseen landmark developments such as Trinity Leeds, Victoria Gate and the £60m First Direct Arena.

Paying tribute councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said the city has developed tremendously during that time.

He said: “Leeds has developed tremendously since Phil took over as our chief planning officer eight years ago and it is in no small part thanks to him that the city’s growth has been carefully and sympathetically managed.

“He has been at the helm of seeing many complex, high-profile and varied projects through the planning process, from the big retail and leisure developments such as Trinity Leeds, Victoria Gate and the arena to important residential and mixed-use schemes like East Leeds Extension and Thorpe Park.

“However, while overseeing the eye-catching big projects, Phil has always put equal emphasis on protecting the character of individual communities and keeping what is special about Leeds.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of the council, added: “Not only has Phil led a significant amount of major planning developments for Leeds, he has also used his time with Leeds City Council to improve and modernise our planning service.

“He has led many service changes and put great emphasis on customer service improvements to make complex planning systems as accessible as they can be to people using them.

“We all wish him a very happy retirement.”

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