£250,000 car park expansion at Lotherton Hall gets green light

Leeds City Council is set to spend £250,000 to  create more car parking spaces at Lotherton Hall after a steep  rise in visitor numbers and an annual  £500,000 plus boost in income.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 11:45 am
Lotherton Hall Photo: Bruce Rollinson

Council chiefs say the scheme will create around 224 new car parking spaces on just under 6,000 square metres of land at the east Leeds visitor attraction.

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The council's director of communities, housing and environment has approved the car park expansion scheme.

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Since 2011 Lotherton estate has been managed by a joint project board involving the council's parks and countryside and museums and galleries departments.

An admission charge has been introduced and parking has been improved and a new adventure playground created.

Council chiefs say income to the whole estate rose from £575k in 2010/11 to £1.1m in 2016/17, a growth of £531k and increase of over 90 per cent.

The introduction of the Lotherton Christmas Experience over recent years has also added around £200k income over a period when the estate had limited numbers of visits.

A report to Leeds City Council states: "Due to an increase in visitors, including visitors to the very popular Halloween and Christmas events, the grass car parking at Lotherton is feeling the strain of regular autumn and winter use.

"The requirement to reinforce one of the grass fields was identified and undertaken in 2016.

"A plastic ground reinforcement grid was sourced that could be installed directly on top of the grass surface.

"However given the amount of use that this product has had over the years, areas of the car park have become unusable particularly during wet periods.

"Given the popularity of the site and the extent to which it is used by the public, it is essential that the car park remains usable throughout the year, not only to provide continuity of the current offer but to allow other year round events going forward in order to sustain current and grow new income streams.

"Following discussions with land managers of similar projects, including the National Trust, Core Cities and the Royal Horticultural Society it was clear that the appropriate way forward was to choose a solution that combines geotextile membranes, layers of aggregate and a porous plastic paving grid.

"The decision was made to use a product that is laid on a composite sub-base structure so consequently the surface is designed to withstand greater usage throughout the year.

"The product includes an interlocking cellular porous plastic paving grid system for ground reinforcement which can be installed with both a grass or gravel filled surface.

"The areas where cars will be parked will have a grass surface."

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