City centre buzzing over "amazingly good" £39.5m plans to transform Leeds Station and surrounding areas
Leeds Station and its surrounding area is set to undergo a major change as part of a £39.5 million investment scheme.
And for those whose lifeblood lies in the heart of Leeds city centre, these are plans being welcomed with open arms.
Streets and entrance ways are set to become more pedestrian-friendly and new cycle lanes and infrastructure will be added.
It is hoped this will make it easier to walk in the area and create a direct route between the station entrance and the South Bank.
Seating will also be installed in this area, as well as improvements such as constructing floor materials to help people with visual impairments.
Taxi services will be relocated to Bishopgate Street and bus services will be relocated to Boar Lane.
Dave Olejnik has owned Laynes Espresso which lies on the to-be-pedestrianised New Station Street for 10 years, and he has always dreamed of this "European style avenue".
He says the new plans will give him more space for tables and chairs and also be a more attractive welcome to the city.
Mr Olejnik told the YEP: "For us and other businesses nearby, these plans are amazingly good, it can only be positive.
"I've always felt like with people coming into Leeds for work or to shop there was always room for a better introduction to our city.
"It's great to finally see that this will be a space to be used by people as its more welcoming.
"Apart from our individual businesses there was nothing to stick around for on New Station Street but this adds to the city scape and makes it more comfortable."
His thoughts are echoed by the leader of Leeds City Council, James Lewis, who thinks the plans help to create a city centre with a "definite wow factor".
Mr Lewis said: “We want to ensure our city centre continues to be a real source of pride for everyone who lives and works in Leeds and the plans for City Square and the area around Leeds City Station are designed to help us achieve that ambition.
“City Square’s prominent position next to the station offers us an ideal opportunity to create a world-class gateway for visitors – both local and those from further afield – that will reflect and enhance the vibrant, inclusive and culture-rich nature of life in the heart of Leeds, while at the same time improving air quality by taking traffic off the roads.
“Alongside that, the complementary improvements planned for roads around the station such as Bishopgate Street and New Station Street will not only be easy on the eye but will also make the centre of Leeds a more walking and cycling-friendly environment.
“As we endeavour to build our economy back better than ever following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be hugely exciting to see these plans taking shape and playing their part in delivering a city centre with a definite wow factor.”
The plans also see more green space being created in the city centre.
Karen Butler, head of place management and delivery at LeedsBID said: “The plans are fantastic news for the city – transforming one of the key arrival points, improving both the experience and ambience of the area and most importantly making more space for people.
“The creation of a woodland in the heart of the city centre adds some of that much needed green space, helping enhance the environment and adding that playful element to the public realm while providing somewhere everyone can dwell, relax and enjoy.”