Clarence Dock: New plans for Leeds waterfront

HARK WORK: The Clarence Dock site has struggled to live up to expectations.
HARK WORK: The Clarence Dock site has struggled to live up to expectations.
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Fresh details have been revealed about plans to revitalise Leeds city centre’s struggling Clarence Dock area.

The £250m waterfront site has been rebranded as New Dock since it was bought by property company Allied London at the start of 2012.

Now Allied London’s intentions for New Dock have been outlined in a report to a Leeds City Council plans panel.

The report says key elements of the firm’s blueprint for the site include:

* Creation of new offices for digital and creative industries;

* Opening of gallery and exhibition facilities;

* Using the site’s water space for “floating retail, food, drink and office premises”.

The report also says the potential of Leeds Dam Island as a home for food and drink outlets is being explored.

Representatives of Allied London were due to give a presentation on their proposals to a meeting of the council’s city centre plans panel yesterday. (May 9)

Compiled ahead of the meeting, the report says: “They will present their evolving strategy to promote New Dock as [a] destination for start-up digital and creative businesses, a place to live, and a place for leisure for residents, workers and visitors alike.”

Yesterday’s (May 9) meeting came just two months after New Dock was dealt a major blow with the closure of its Alea casino.

The closure meant the potential loss of 99 jobs as well as the axe for two acclaimed restaurants within the complex, Leeds Kitchen and The Bird. As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, the site has also struggled to live up to its pre-launch hype as one of the new jewels in Leeds’s retail crown.

Last summer, it was confirmed that around half of its 35 shop units had NEVER been occupied.

Allied London is understood to have paid about £1.5m for the lease on the site when it was bought from its previous owner, property group Lend Lease, in January last year.

The new bosses are best known for developing Manchester’s Spinningfields commercial and retail district.

Members of Leeds council’s city centre plans panel visited Spinningfields in September last year to get a first-hand view of the regeneration work carried out by Allied London.

* The dock originally opened in the 1830s for the transportation of goods and commodities to and from Leeds city centre, using the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Aire and Calder Navigation. The area underwent steady decline through the 20th century.