This is when Leeds City Square will be permanently closed to all traffic

Multi-million pound works to double the size of Leeds City Square and close the area to traffic could be finished as early as December, a report by civil servants has stated.

By Richard Beecham
Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 12:45 pm

A report into work on the Leeds City Centre Package, which involves roads around the city square being open only to buses, taxis and bicycles, is set to go before a meeting of regional decision-makers next week.

Read More

Read More
Meet the Leeds teacher wielding a chainsaw to create street art by carving trees...

It added that, while the economic case for the work was “very poor”, it would ensure buses would “no longer have to compete” with cars for space on the city centre’s roads.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The works are set to cost around £15.3m in total, and work is expected to start this April. Picture: Sahid A Khan / Adobe Stock.

According to the document, the work will also involve converting East Parade and King Street into a two-way street with bus stops, as well as introducing signals at Globe Road and Westgate.

The works are set to cost around £15.3m in total, and work is expected to start this April.

The document stated: “Delivery of the City Square Plus package will allow City Square to be pedestrianised, improving connectivity and safety for people travelling by bike or on foot within the city centre, and making it more attractive to walk or cycle to employment, housing, retail, education, and public transport (bus and rail).

“The scheme will also improve bus journey reliability with new bus gates, new stops, and changes to routes to complement the wider network.

Buses will also no longer have to compete for road space with motorists. ANPR (number plate recognition) survey of 2013 revealed that around 30 per cent of traffic that uses City Square does not originate in or is destined for the city centre. So, a notable proportion of traffic simply use this route as an alternative to the Inner Ring Road for northbound journeys across the city.”

It said that the scheme presented “very poor value for money” when assessed using criteria set by the Department for Transport criteria, but added: “The scheme demonstrates good benefits in terms of accident, cycling and walking, pedestrian journey time, and public space quality, they are outweighed by the significant disbenefits to motorists.

“The principle aim of the scheme is to re-prioritise road space in Leeds City Centre to sustainable travel (cycling, walking and buses) and local impacts.”

According to plans released last year, early blueprints for a newly-designed City Square included woodland and water features, with the entire area between the Queens Hotel and Mill Hill Chapel closed to general traffic.

A council report said the site would feature a “conceptual reincarnation” of the ancient Forest of Leodis on which the city is built, as well as “informal play” for children, with platforms and rock steps to climb and jump off, as well as a water feature.

City Square was first built in 1897, alongside the old Post Office building.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United. With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.