Leeds Temple Works scheme gets £5m to prepare for British Library works

The proposed British Library site in Holbeck could become one of the best attractions in the country, according to West Yorkshire’s elected Mayor.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 4:45 am
Temple Works in Holbeck, Leeds.

Plans to renovate the iconic Temple Works building are expected to top £70m, but regional council chiefs today voted to take the first step, approving £5m for a scheme to help stabilise the building.

A report by Leeds City Council officers says the site could be up and running by 2028, a sentiment echoed by regional leaders.

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Speaking at meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) yesterday (July 29) , Mayor Tracy Brabin said: “I would also like to see the opportunity for renovation in an area that has traditionally been an area of deprivation.

"It is a really exciting opportunity for Leeds. To bring in tourism and academics and to be one of the best in the country is just fantastic.

“Congratulations to everyone who got that over the line.”

The site is hoped to one day play host to a British Library northern exhibit, sitting alongside its major site in Boston Spa, which opened in 1961 and is home to more than three-quarters of the Library’s collection.

A report into the plans by WYCA officers claimed the site could create extra jobs and bring in an extra half a million visitors to Leeds every year.

Leeds City Council leader Coun James Lewis (Lab) insisted the extra jobs would be in addition to those at the Boston Spa site.

“It’s two different sites and two different facilities,” he said. “I know often when we look at Government sites and relocations, it feels like existing jobs are being moved around and there is a bit of double-counting going on.

“The public reading room is an amazing building that nobody gets to see. This is intended to be a wholly different project.

“It’s a very exciting project, bringing back into use a building from the early stage of the industrial revolution.”

Members were also assured by WYCA officers that the new jobs expected to be created by the site would be in addition to those at the British Library’s Boston Spa site.

Members approved plans to spend £5m on development costs to fund “temporary stabilisation works to allow access to the building”, as well as surveying and further design work.

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