Green light expected for “world class” Leeds city centre university arts hub

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A landmark arts hub that it is hoped will provide a “centrepiece for the cultural landscape of Leeds” - and form a key part of any successful European Capital of Culture bid - is expected to get the green light next week.

Leeds Beckett University has put forward an application for a brand new state-of-the-art building on Portland Way - opposite the west wing of Leeds Civic Hall - which would bring together four departments: music; film; performing arts and fashion.

The £75m building will sit on a piece of university land that has been dormant for a decade. after the previous buildings were demolished.

It is hoped that the new creative arts hub - designed to accommodate 2,100 students and 150 staff - will “deliver world-class teaching and academic facilities in a gateway location to the university”.

Councillors on Leeds Council’s City Plans Panel will debate the proposals next week, and are being advised by their own officers to give the project the green light.

Documents prepared for the panel ahead of the meeting say: “Leeds Beckett University creative arts facilities are presently scattered across the city centre and beyond.

“The building would bring together university facilities for film, music, performing arts and fashion on a vacant, previously developed site which forms part of the university’s city centre campus.”

The building would include a TV studio, an acoustic testing lab, two theatres, a 216-seat cinema and a series of recording, fashion and performance studios.

The report to the plans panel says approval of the scheme would show the city is “valuing the contributions to the life, vitality and economy of the city centre made by the universities”.

The development would create “high quality, contemporary, architecture “ and would “respond positively” to the surrounding area, it adds.

Andrew Fryer, dean of film, music and performing arts at Leeds Beckett, told the YEP earlier that the building will be “a centrepiece for the growing cultural landscape of Leeds”, and is made even more significant in the run-up to the city’s European Capital of Culture 2023 bid.