A city surveyor has questioned why Leeds City Council bosses are throwing their support behind Burberry’s £50m plan for a new factory at Holbeck Urban Village which he says has historically been earmarked for housing.
Robert Austin, of Robert Austin and Co chartered surveyors, said the council has promoted the village for the last 10 years as “principally for housing” but was now “suddenly throwing all those long held plans on the scrapheap because of the interest of this multinational”.
He said: “The land which is being devoted to this Burberry proposal effectively negates that long held intention to promote housing.”
His comments come as Leeds City Council’s executive board is due to meet today to set out the principles by which it will support Burberry’s proposals for the Leeds South Bank area.
The company announced earlier this month its plans to build a new factory for its iconic trench coats behind Temple Works, with future development of the historic temple itself.
A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said: “If the executive board approve the recommendations at the meeting on Wednesday, we will produce new planning guidance for Temple Works and the surrounding sites which will be the subject of full public consultation.”
Mr Austin also suggested a more “practical proposition” for Burberry was to lease or buy an existing vacant factory in Cross Gates or South Leeds.
He said: “The travel to work congestion and articulated vehicle movements would then go on to purpose designed roads rather than trying to accommodate them in the narrow congested street network which comprises Holbeck Urban Village.”
But a spokesman for Burberry told the YEP: “We are very proud of our heritage in producing Burberry trench coats here in Yorkshire and we are delighted that our proposed new site on South Bank will allow us to continue that story. The plans will enable us to invest in jobs and training in a county long been associated with the textile industry. We would never have wanted to go anywhere else.”