Central Leeds: New office plan for ‘city park’ scheme

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New details have been revealed about plans for the development of a high-profile site in Leeds city centre.

Proposals for a new four-storey headquarters for accountancy firm KPMG at the Sovereign Street site were given the green light by Leeds City Council at the end of last year.

An urban ‘mini-park’ that will occupy another part of the 1.16-hectare site was also approved by council bosses in December.

Now it has emerged that a six-storey building is being planned for a third section of the landmark site.

The unnamed developer’s architects, Sheppard Robson, will make a presentation to a council plans meeting tomorrow.

A council report prepared for the meeting says the development would be an office building with “ground floor retail and food and drink uses”.

The building would also boast “glazed ground floor frontages” and 40 basement car parking spaces, says the report.

It would occupy a part of the site adjoining Swinegate and an existing multi-storey car park.

Councillors will get the chance to raise issues about the proposals tomorrow before the submission of a full planning application later this year.

The Sovereign Street site has been used as a car park since the demolition of the Queens Hall concert venue in 1989.

Plans were put forward in 2004 to make it the home of a £115m ‘kissing towers’ development called Criterion Place but the project later fell victim to the credit crunch.

Work on the new KPMG building has been scheduled to start in May this year.

It has been described as the first major office development in the middle of Leeds for more than five years.

The mini-park planned for the site, meanwhile, would cost the council around £2.5m.

Local authority bosses have said it will bring “significant economic, environmental and social advantages” to the city centre.

The park is intended to act as an easy-on-the-eye buffer zone between new buildings at Sovereign Street.

A report compiled for a meeting of the council’s executive board last year described the Sovereign Street site as offering a “high-profile development opportunity”.