Planning chiefs have thrown down the gauntlet to developers to “really go for it” and come up with some iconic and imaginative new designs that will forge a lasting architectural legacy for Leeds.
The call comes after two massive schemes - which could bring 1,500 homes to the city centre and Holbeck Urban Village between them - were debated by a senior council panel, receiving mixed reactions.
One of the designs, for 744 homes in Holbeck, was slammed as “uninspiring”, and not up to the quality demanded by the “architectural sculpture park” that Leeds can and should be.
It led to calls for more imagination - of the type that has brought Trinity Leeds and John Lewis to the city - and less “jutting out concrete” designs being brought forward.
Councillor Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for housing, told the panel: “The time has come that the areas we have left in the city centre get the best treatment and the highest standards.”
Conservative councillor Graham Latty echoed his Labour colleague’s concerns.
“Leeds is our architectural sculpture park and we should be looking for buildings that fit that description,” he said.
“Over the last few years, we have got some wonderful buildings, there is a good variety.
“We want in 100 years for people to say ‘they didn’t do a bad job in 2015, they left us something to be proud of’. Gradually we are making the architecture in Leeds that we would be happy for future generations to look at.”
Speaking of another application for a huge homes and offices development at a landmark site in Quarry Hill, councillor Neil Walshaw also challenged developers.
“We want to see architects really indulge themselves, and come up with something iconic. There’s an awful lot to be gained here, but we really want architects to go for it.”