Is focus on city living changing direction?

Date: 4th May 2017.'Picture James Hardisty.'Building site development corner of Wellington Street and Aire Street,  Leeds.
Date: 4th May 2017.'Picture James Hardisty.'Building site development corner of Wellington Street and Aire Street, Leeds.
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Just a few years ago the area west of Leeds city centre was scrub or the forgotten industrial lands.

Now it is a massive building project with many construction companies and developers cashing in as the boundaries of the city centre push out with high rise office blocks, trendy city living style apartments overlooking the canal, grab and go shops and cafe turned bars for after work drinks.

In the last five or so years the transformation has been phenomenal, creating an entirely new district between the railway station and Holbeck.

Cast your eye over a Leeds City Council planning agenda and you will see numerous applications of a similar nature seeking permission for high-rise buildings with multiple uses that are changing the skyline and arguably, also the aspirations of the area.

The latest one comes from Ilkley-based Hallborough Properties Limited, and at the last meeting of the City Plans Panel was earmarked for approval.

It will see the partial demolition of 17 Wellington Street and the total demolition of 49 Aire Street.

A change of use will then make way for a seven storey extension and a new basement to provide a restaurant/cafe and 26 apartments.

It has been a long time in the pipeline though following negotiations with council planners which saw Hallborough go back to the drawing board to address issues over the scale of the development and the loss of historical buildings and character.

However, the historic facade of the Aire Street side will be retained and incorporated into the new build with old and new complementing each other.

The report says: “Officers acknowledge that whilst there will still be harm in the level of demolition this will be a tolerable level and the demolition will allow the main body of the listed building to be brought back into public use.”

In addition, Hallborough estimates that the scheme, which was first aired in January last year, will create 53 direct construction jobs, 37 indirect supporting jobs, 36 permanent jobs when the scheme is finished as well as scope for more positions from the restaurant that will open.

For the authority the scheme will generate £26,000 in council tax and £126,000 worth of new homes bonus payments over six years.

And that bounty is being added to as other developments are currently under construction or nearing completion at a rate which is seeing Whitehall Road and Wellington Street change almost on a daily basis.

Premier Inn is one of the city’s newest hotels, Central Point mixes retail, food and office use while 242 build-to-rent apartments in an 18 storey block have been given reserved matters approval for the former Yorkshire post site.

And catering for the growing population, working and living, are the likes of Sociable Folk, Veeno, The Place, Man’s Market, Good Luck Club, Cafe Nero, Marks & Spencer, Chop’d and the gym L1 – all of which have opened in the last couple of years.

Chris Rhodes is the owner of The Place which opened earlier this year.

He said: “This just seemed like an excellent opportunity. It is a great development to be on and it is just like a little community.”