Refurbishment of Temple Works still ‘several years’ from starting

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Work to refurbish Holbeck’s iconic Temple Works building is still not likely to even start for “several years”, new documents reveal.

The seemingly never-ending questions over the building’s future look set to continue, as a report into listed buildings published by the council claims significant building stabilisation work would be needed before refurbishment of the building could even start.

Plans emerged earlier this year to move part of the British Library into the building, following previously mooted plans to move fashion giant Burberry into the building being scrapped in 2017.

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The document, set to be discussed by the council’s Joint Plans Panel this week, stated: “Temple Works is one of the most important historic industrial buildings in the country and is a grade I listed building.

Inside the Temple Works in 2018.Inside the Temple Works in 2018.
Inside the Temple Works in 2018.

“The current owners, CEG, bought Temple works nearly four years ago and are working with the council and the British Library to house the British Library of the North in this challenging building.

“The start of development on site is likely to be several years away, preceded by an initial phase of temporary stabilisation. The multimillion pound conversion will be underwritten by a substantial public sector grant.”

Plans emerged earlier this year to look into using the site as a centre for the Bristish Library, which was moving some of its operations to Leeds. It was understood in March that CEG had spent the past year conducting exploratory work at the site and improving safety and security.

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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 new owners Commercial Estates Group.