Ambitious proposals to redevelop the historic former Tetley Brewery site to create a “vibrant neighbourhood” in the city centre have been provisionally approved by plans chiefs.
International developer Vastint UK’s outline application for the Hunslet Road site, on the edge of the city centre, includes up to 850 homes, office and commercial space and possibly two hotels.
Council chiefs on the City Plans Panel unanimously voted to move the plans on to the next stage yesterday.
Dubbed one of the biggest applications the city centre has seen, the proposals also pave the way for the council’s City Centre Park vision, to create a large green space in the city centre connecting the emerging South Bank area.
A report prepared ahead of the meeting says Vastint has pledged to contribute up to two hectares to the council’s City Centre Park green space in its first phase of development.
Coun James McKenna, chairman of the panel, told the meeting the application was one of “the most exciting I can remember”. He said: “It is a very, very big application. It is going to bring credit to the city and put us on the map.”
After a detailed pre-application stage, the plans will now be deferred to the council’s chief planning officer for approval, once highways and Section 106 contributions are resolved. The firm will then return to the panel with an application for full planning permission.
Coun Neil Walshaw, who also sits on the plans panel, said: “I think for an outline application there is quite a lot of substance here. I think that is down to the enormous level of discussions we had at pre-application stage. This is so important for the city.”
Vastint UK specialises in large-scale mixed-use development schemes and currently owns more than 29 hectares of land in Leeds, London and Cardiff. It is now constructing a development in London, just south of the Olympic Park.
The firm, part of the Interogo Group, bought 22-acres of the former Tetley Brewery site off from Carlsberg UK last year.
Andrew Cobden, Vastint UK services’ managing director, told the meeting he believed Leeds’ city centre was expanding outwards as part of the council’s vision of the South Bank, which runs along the southern side of the River Aire and roughly stretches from Holbeck to Leeds Dock. The South Bank covers the equivalent of 250 football pitches and is being promoted as offering some of Europe’s most exciting regeneration opportunities.
Mr Cobden said: “We really do consider ourselves as the city centre. I would like to think that in 10 years’ time this site, and the area surrounding, will be considered as the city centre. That’s why, in a way, we have developed the sort of scheme that we have - because we feel that the city centre will bleed out from here further south.”
Up to 850 homes, ranging from studio flats to three bedrooms, are proposed.
Coun Tom Leadley told the meeting: “People did live in the city centre until the 1970s, when they all got cleared out. Then people started coming back in the 1990s. So this is a return to living in the city centre, rather than something new.”
Mr Cobden said Vastint UK was willing to work with the council to refine its application during the final process.