Leeds discount store Harvard Mills at Kirkstall District Centre closing down to make way for flats

"One of Kirkstall's finest shops" is set to close down before the end of the year to make way for flats.
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Retail discount store Harvard Mills is one of the few shops still occupied at the "once vibrant" Kirkstall District Centre on Kirkstall Lane.

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And earlier this year developers Artisan Leeds Kirkstall Ltd were granted permission to build 183 flats and 80 ‘townhouses’ in the area, which will be named Kirkstall Place.

Harvard Mills, Kirkstall (photo: Google).Harvard Mills, Kirkstall (photo: Google).
Harvard Mills, Kirkstall (photo: Google).
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Harvard Mills posted on Facebook yesterday (Thursday): "It’s with a very heavy heart that we must sadly let you know that, due to the re-development of the site, Harvard Mills will soon be closing down.

"We don't have an exact closing date as yet but it is very likely to be within the next few months.

"We are so very grateful to all of our loyal customers for your support over the last 14 years that we have been trading here.

"As you know, we already offer the lowest, bargain prices across thousands of items, so please now take your chance to come in and stock up on even bigger bargains from us while you still have the chance.

A CGI image of what Kirkstall Place may look like.A CGI image of what Kirkstall Place may look like.
A CGI image of what Kirkstall Place may look like.
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"As we need to clear all of our stock over the course of the next couple of months, we will now be opening 7 days a week once again.

"Our opening hours are Monday to Saturday 9.30am - 4.30pm and Sunday 10am - 4pm."

The traditional store sold a wide variety of goods, from curtains, bedding and rugs to furniture, kitchenware, clothing, toys, and DIY supplies.

There are no plans for it to reopen in another location.

Harvard Mills pictured in 2011.Harvard Mills pictured in 2011.
Harvard Mills pictured in 2011.

Planning documents said that the centre at Kirkstall was “once vibrant”, but now many of the shops have closed.

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The store added in its statement: "Again, we want to thank each and every customer who has shopped with us over the years and kindly ask that you please share this post and spread the word among your family and friends that we are now open for only a limited time and we’d really appreciate your support and custom, now more than ever.

"Thank you and stay safe."

The news was met with sadness from customers.

Paul Hargreaves said: "One of Kirkstall 's finest shops.

"I will certainly be sorry to see it close.

"Many thanks to Lawrence and his great team for their brilliant service over the years."

Benita Mary Slater wrote: "Hope you can find somewhere else to trade.

"I can’t think of anywhere else like Harvards.

"It’s been a godsend over the years.

"So sad to hear this news."

Jackie Faulkner-aka Knight wrote: "That's so sad.

"It's been threatened for years and I for one among very many people will really miss it, and all the lovely helpful staff that have always gone the extra mile to serve you.

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"There truly is nowhere else like it, and I just hope that they find another premises to reopen.

"It's very sad news for a lot of people."

And Donna Wilbor added: "So sorry to hear this.

"We come from Ripon to your store and only discovered it last year.

"You are all always friendly and we have picked up some fab bargains (it all helps).

"I hope you all find employment and keep safe."

Before the redevelopment plan was approved by councillors, council officers said: “This scheme is considered a significant regeneration opportunity that would contribute positively to the regeneration of a vacant brownfield site.

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"It is acknowledged the proposals create a predominately residential use of the site which is allocated for a larger commercial/office use.

"However, the application proposal will create a lower impact in relation to vehicle trips and thus highways movements and this should be given material weight.

“In this instance, conflicts have been identified with policies relating to the provision of on-site green space and affordable housing which do carry weight.

"However, the benefits of ensuring redevelopment of a largely derelict, vacant brownfield site and providing housing to contribute to the Council’s ongoing housing supply also attract weight.

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“Given the identified viability issues and specific site constraints it is considered, on balance, the benefits of the proposal weigh against identified conflicts and as such the application is recommended for approval.”

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