The push to breathe new life into Leeds city centre’s South Bank is set to receive a £500,000 pedestrian-friendly boost.
Senior councillors are next week expected to approve plans for a scheme which will complement the £17.3m southern entrance being built at Leeds City Station.
It is important we do everything we can to integrate all the improvements around the station and its surroundings together to make the area as inviting as possible for all.
It will see the area around Little Neville Street – close to the Dark Arches – becoming a pedestrian zone.
Council officials say the move will deliver a “safe, attractive and welcoming” environment for the thousands of people who will use the entrance each day after it opens this autumn.
Blue Badge parking spots limited to 30 minutes’ waiting time will help maintain access for the disabled.
There will also be exemptions to the no-drive rule for vehicles leaving the Hilton Hotel or people needing access to off-street properties.
Funding for the £500,000 scheme will be provided by contributions from developers and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).
Leeds City Council’s executive member for transport and economy, Coun Richard Lewis, said: “Little Neville Street is a small space to work with so it has taken a great deal of problem solving but I am pleased that we have been able to come up with a solution that everyone is happy with, including access for people with disabilities.
“It is important we do everything we can to integrate all the improvements around the station and its surroundings together to make the area as inviting as possible for all, so projects like this are essential in order to maximise the benefits the new entrance offers.”
The new station entrance is in part designed to provide a gateway to Leeds’s South Bank, which stretches from Holbeck urban village to Leeds Dock.
Covering 136 hectares, the area has been promoted as offering prime development opportunities at the MIPIM property conference this week in Cannes.
Existing projects include Tower Works, with construction firm Carillion being announced on Tuesday as the preferred development partner for the former factory’s transformation into an £80m mix of office, leisure and residential space.
Coun James Lewis, chair of the WYCA’s transport committee, said: “Leeds City Station has seen passenger growth year on year, and many of those passengers are heading for destinations south of the River Aire.
“When opened, the new entrance will make that journey a much more attractive proposition, as well as reducing congestion at the existing ticket gates.
“The proposed improvements will complement the iconic structure being built and I’m sure they will be well received by passengers.”