Creative revamp of neighbourly area of Leeds wins praise as it bids for national award

Martin Dunderdale of David Street Cafe in Holbeck Urban Village.
Martin Dunderdale of David Street Cafe in Holbeck Urban Village.
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A historic Leeds area that has become a hub for creative industry is in the running to be named the UK’s Great Neighbourhood.

The increasingly vibrant Holbeck Urban Village (HUV), which is currently home to 2,000 employees, 150 creative companies, residents and a wealth of eateries and pubs, was explored by judges from the Academy of Urbanism yesterday.

The panel visited the area that boasts architectural gems like Tower Works and buildings like the Round Foundry and Marshall’s Mill that have been transformed from relics of the Industrial Revolution to vibrant business hubs, as the area bids to win the Great Neighbourhood category at the Academy of Urbanism’s 2015 Urbanism Awards.

HUV, first targeted for redevelopment before the recession, is vying for the award to be presented in November alongside Broughty Ferry, in Dundee, and Devonport, in Plymouth.

Richard Guise, lead assessor from the academy of industry professionals, said: “We’ve been impressed by the way historic buildings have been altered and extended to house the various creative industries – there is a real buzz there and they like being in characterful places.”

He said the panel of eight was also pleased to see the growth in housing at HUV – something they hope will flourish.

The likes of Tour de France bid-winning tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire and fast-growing TV company True North are among HUV residents, while some older firms still remain.

Martin Dunderdale, owner of David Street Cafe for 23 years, said: “They have almost created a community of businesses and people that work in the area and it’s a pleasant place to work.”

The Out of the Woods cafe was opened by Ross Stringer at HUV in 2006. She added: “There is a massive community spirit here – we know 90 per cent of the customers by name.”

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