Leeds Corn Exchange to unveil new outdoor space after huge refurbishment project

A stylish new look for one of the most famous spots in Leeds city centre will be officially unveiled at a celebration event taking place this weekend.

By Abbey Maclure
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 12:43 pm

The area directly in front of Leeds Corn Exchange has been transformed in tandem with a wider £25million highways improvement scheme.

Leeds City Council and its partners have spent the last year creating the new piece of pedestrianised open space next to the Grade I listed landmark.

The creation of the space complements highways improvements carried out as part of the council's Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme (LPTIP).

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The space outside the Corn Exchange has been transformed with a £25m project

New bus, cycle and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure has been put in place, both on roads around the Corn Exchange as well as other streets across the city centre.

On Saturday, the milestone will be marked in style with a free day of entertainment and activities in the centre, which was built in the 19th century and is now home to a raft of independent businesses.

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for infrastructure and climate, said: “The Corn Exchange is one of the jewels in Leeds’ crown and we are so pleased that it now has the high-quality setting that it deserves.

“The creation of the public space and the improvements to local roads will give the area an exciting new lease of life while at the same time encouraging active travel.

The Corn Exchange was built in the 19th century and is now home to a raft of independent businesses

"People-focused infrastructure projects like these will also make our city more investable and help unlock its full commercial potential.

“We are very grateful for the support and patience shown by residents and businesses, including the city’s bus operators, while the work has taken shape.

“Saturday’s celebration event will be a great way to showcase the changes that have been made."

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Nearly 1,750 square metres of open space has been created outside the Corn Exchange by upgrading two existing pedestrian areas and removing the stretch of Call Lane that runs between New Market Street and Crown Street.

New seating, trees and sandstone paving are among the design features and the council hopes it can be enjoyed by shoppers, workers, local residents and visitors alike.

An integrated cycleway runs east-west adjacent to this plaza-style area, which will also serve as a location for pop-up events and gatherings.

As well as improvements made by the council, the building’s owner, Rushbond plc, has designed and co-funded part of the project to improve the look of the area.

Jonathan Maud, managing director of Rushbond, said: “It’s thanks to the collective vision of all involved in this scheme that Leeds Corn Exchange now has a world-class public space fitting for this unique gem of a building and much-loved Leeds icon.

“Inspired by Cuthbert Brodrick’s wonderful architecture with its striking roof structure, this important milestone will allow the building once again to play a central role in the city, linking the beautiful, buzzing interior of the Corn Exchange with an elegant outdoors space.

“With the scene set, we now have an opportunity to allow the magic that takes place inside the Corn Exchange to spill outside.

"Working with the independent businesses that make the Corn Exchange experience so different, the new public space will host all sorts of events and activities for everyone to enjoy.”