Approval for unique new Leeds Beckett University building with rooftop track

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A new teaching and research building at Leeds Beckett University’s Headingley campus has today (Thursday) been approved by planning chiefs.

As reported in the YEP earlier this week, the University wants to demolish an existing teaching building and car park and replace them with a new hub - to be known as the Carnegie Teaching and Research Building - which will feature a rooftop walking track and a jutting third storey running track described as “the principle architectural feature of the building”.

It will also include health clinics, a gym, new teaching rooms and a cafe.

At a meeting today, Leeds City Council’s South and West plans panel unanimously approved the plans.

And there were reassuring words from the University’s vice chancellor, Peter Slee, following concerns about the loss of a number of car parking spaces on the site and the potential knock on effect on residential streets.

Members of the panel asked the vice chancellor if the University would consider making on site parking free to help alleviate potential pressure on neighbouring streets.

He said “changing our current policy” on charging was one option, as was the introduction of parking charges on nearby streets.

He stressed that on site parking is just £1.50 a day and the University does not make any profit from it.

He said it was arecognised that there had been “historic issues with parking” which had “caused many of our neighbours a great deal of distress and inconvenience”.

He added: “We are absolutely committed to trying to solve the problem and be better neighbours.”

Councillor Jonathan Bentley (Lib Dem, Weetwood ward) told the meeting it was “quite clear” that there was no objection to the development itself.

“In fact I think it’s going to be an iconic building,” he said.

And Coun Fiona Venner also praised the unique rooftop walking track.

The panel had been told that the new building “will provide a focus for the University’s School of Sport”.

It will sit at the centre of the campus next to the existing outdoor athletics track and sports pitches.

It will not increase the overall number of students.