Changing places at Leeds dockland site

PIC: Neil Vary
PIC: Neil Vary
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Leeds Dock’s owners have begun a new phase of their bid to breathe fresh life into a site once branded a virtual ghost town.

An application has been submitted to planners at Leeds City Council seeking permission for changes designed to make a number of commercial units at the dock more attractive to possible occupiers.

If the application is approved, then the units – currently limited to use for retail or leisure purposes – could potentially also be utilised as office space.

One document submitted to the council says the revised classification would “allow the units to be suitably marketed and occupied”.

It goes on: “The proposals recognise that the units have the potential to play an important role in the regeneration of Leeds Dock.

“Therefore it is necessary to provide as much flexibility as possible in their consented uses in order to ensure they become occupied by long term tenants as quickly as possible rather than continuing to remain vacant and underused.”

Situated on the south-eastern outskirts of the city centre, the former Clarence Dock area’s mix of leisure and retail facilities struggled to pull in visitors after it opened in a blaze of publicity in 2008.

Speaking in 2010, one tenant warned that the site would become a ghost town unless radical measures were taken.

It was bought in 2012 by developer Allied London, which is aiming to establish the dock as one of the UK’s most attractive work and play spaces.

Plans include turning the site’s old Alea casino building into a super-flexible ‘hub’ for creative, media and technology firms.

A programme of outdoor events has been established and a new bus route running from Leeds City Station was introduced last month to try to make the area more accessible.

Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton Picture: Anna Gowthorpe

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