Nine major developments that could change the shape of Leeds

Despite the effects of Covid-19 on the UK’s economy, Leeds still has plenty of ambitious building developments in the pipeline that are expected to change the cityscape.

By Richard Beecham
Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 11:45 am

Here are a few of the plans we’ve seen taking shape over the past few months, as well as what we can expect from them in the new year.

East Leeds Extension

Not a tall skyscraper in sight, but this is just about the biggest housing development going, with around 1,800 houses expected to be built on a huge site between Manston and Leeds Road.

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An artist's impression of how a redesigned City Square could look.

The plans are so big, that they had to be split into two. The outline application for 875 homes on part of the site near York Road has already been granted, with more detailed plans, known as “reserved matters” expected soon.

The “southern quadrant”, which is expected to include 925 houses and a 2.6 hectare community centre, is currently at an earlier pre-application stage, with final plans and a decision expected in 2022.

Former Leeds International Pool

The site has sat empty for more than a decade, but is set to become home to a huge new development, reaching dozens of storeys into the sky. The £270m plans include homes, a hotel, offices and student accommodation.

The £270m plans for the old Leeds International Pool site in Lisbon Street include homes, a hotel, offices and student accommodation. Picture: Rockhunter Ltd

Building one would “comprise two residential towers”, of 33 and 22 storeys, providing 629 build to rent residential units.

Building two would be a 24-storey student residential building, providing 548 student bed spaces, while the 14-storey building three would be a “mixed use aparthotel building”, providing 120 hotel rooms and 3,000 square metres of office space.

The plans were approved by the council’s City Plans Panel back in November.

Capitol Park

There’s some uncertainty about this one, as planning chiefs recently sent developers back to look again at the proposals.

The masterplan for the site, off Topcliffe Lane in Morley, lists five warehouse buildings with a total floorspace of 102,890 square metres, as well as 1,315 parking spaces. It is also claimed this could create more than 1,000 jobs.

But a panel of councillors voted to defer a decision, instructing the developers to look again at moving two of the planned warehouses further away from nearby houses.

Water Lane

A pre-application back in September showed developers McLaren living want to create a stepped building of nine to 26 storeys, landscaping, a rooftop terrace and undercroft car parking.

The site, just off Water Lane, would include 360 flats overall, with more than half being one-bedroom.

The site is currently used as a car park, and is bordered by historical buildings, such as Midland Mills, Marshall Mill and the Round Foundry.

A more detailed full planning application is expected in the coming months.

Yorkshire Bank Site

This city centre site is currently home to the eponymous financial institution, which doesn’t plan to extend its lease beyond 2025, meaning Leeds City Council had a decision to make about what it wanted to do with it.

The answer seems to be a 38-storey glass tower to house 720 students, along with retail and an “events space”, featuring a main exhibition hall, a fixed event space, storage space and areas for retail and refreshments.

The plans are still at a pre-application stage, with full plans expected in the new year.

City Reach

This development will be a huge one. Eleven buildings in total, and 1,800 homes in total on the site of a former chemical works in west Leeds.

A pre-application hearing took place back in September to look at the plans, expected to eventually be made up of 11 buildings, featuring 1,437 new homes, 362 student rooms as well as “leisure, cultural and community floorspace”.

A report into the plans by Leeds City Council officers also suggests 243 car parking spaces, 1,148 cycle parking spaces would also be included on the site off Kirkstall Road. The tallest buildings on the site are expected to reach about 15-17 storeys.

Again, as this was a pre-application, more detailed plans are yet to be revealed.

Former British Gas site

Plans from developers Ultra Assets Holdings Ltd, include the construction of five buildings, ranging between 13 and 31 storeys, and consisting of 678 apartments for the site off Bridge Street, Gower Street and New York Road.

The site was historically occupied by British Gas, but was vacant for a long time. Its neighbouring 10-storey tower has already been converted into a Hilton Hotel in 2019.

According to a report by Leeds City Council officers, the plans include 408 one-bed, 238 two-bed, and 32 three-bed flats, as well as around 1,600 square metres of commercial and retail space on the ground floor. A 288-space car park would be built for residents, as well as a new public walkway between Bridge Street and Regent Street.

City Square

One of the things the council is wanting to do to make the city more attractive is to widen the pedestrianised area of City Square.

Proposed changes would mean City Square getting woodland and water features, with the entire area between the Queens Hotel and Mill Hill Chapel closed to general traffic.

Architects were invited to take part in a competition to redesign Leeds City Square using a building budget of £3.5m. The winner is a submission from Leeds-based Re-form Landscape

Architecture whose design, dubbed “The Glade”, is set to feature a “conceptual reincarnation” of the ancient Forest of Leodis on which the city is built.

The entire scheme is expected to have a total budget of £7m-£9.5m, and it is hoped that final designs and approval can be reached by May/June 2022.

Quarry Hill Flats

Yes, flats are finally returning to Quarry Hill.

The blocks, set to be seven and thirteen storeys in height, are part of the larger so-called “SoYo” project, which aims to help regenerate the area between Quarry House and Leeds City College’s new Quarry Hill campus.

It will be the first time people have been housed in the area since the famous Quarry Hill Flats social housing scheme was demolished in 1978. Work is currently taking place on site.

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