‘Positive’ signs for future of Temple Works, report claims

Leeds City Council says “positive progress” is being made to ensure one of the city’s most recognisable industrial buildings can be brought back into use in the future.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 11:45 am

A report, set to go before members of the council’s decision-making Executive Board, says stabilisation works on the Temple Works building in Holbeck are set to start early next year, which could ultimately help bring the grade one listed building back into use.

Talks are currently ongoing between the council and the British Library to create a new “British Library North” facility in the building, following an announcement in this month’s Spring Budget for a £25m heritage grant from central funding to support such a scheme.

A report by Leeds City Council officers stated developer Commercial Estates Group, which owns the building and is working with the council to bring it back into use, bought an adjoining building south of Temple Works, known as Drapers Yard, as well as 20 Sweet Street. It also claims CEG is also in talks with other landowners, while continuing work to help stabilise the Temple Works building.

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The Temple Works is considered one of Leeds's most iconic industrial-era buildings.

The report said: “This is positive progress, which alongside ongoing design and technical due diligence work, is aiding efforts to secure the long term re-use of Temple Works.

“It is planned for temporary stabilisation works to commence in early 2022, to allow further survey and design work to take place safely and to arrest the decline of the property ahead of a full contract being let for the full stabilisation of the property thereafter.

“There is positive progress being made with regards to securing the long term sustainable re-use of the Grade I listed Temple Works, with the council, CEG and British Library progressing detailed work over the potential of a new British Library North at Temple, with £25m of devolution funds secured to establish a British Library North in Leeds.

“However, as reported in November 2018, the assembly of third party land is considered crucial in achieving the city’s regeneration ambitions at this location and securing the re-use of Temple Works.”

Until June 2017, the site had been earmarked for a new £50m manufacturing facility for fashion giant Burberry. However, the company pulled out of the deal, claiming it would be too expensive and time-consuming to renovate the building.

Following the decision, the council heard that the building had suffered major structural damage in 2008 when part of the roof and frontage fell in.

Back in November 2018, decision-makers at Leeds City Council agreed to spend money to help weather-proof the building while grand designs for a renovation can be completed with CEG.

Members of the executive board will meet to discuss the plans on Wednesday, March 17.