Reprieve for 100 year old factory in Leeds car park plan

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A historic Leeds building which was set to be demolished as part of the Victoria Gate development has been given an 18-month reprieve, with the hope that it can eventually be incorporated into the new retail quarter.

Plans to bulldoze the century-old former Lyons Works clothing factory to make way for a temporary shoppers’ car parking scheme had been criticised. The building, which does not have listed status, was one of several on land to the north of Eastgate that were earmarked for demolition.

At a Leeds council planning meeting yesterday, councillors rubberstamped permission to knock down the former bus station at Vicar Lane, the former Park Lane College in Templar Street and other buildings. It is hoped clearing the area and reorganising existing off-street car parking could result in an extra 145 car parking spaces, which would replace some of those lost when the Union Street car park closed recently.

However after talks between council bosses and developer Hammerson, demolition of Lyons Works has been suspended. It will remain for at least 18 months while plans for the next phase of Victoria Gate are finalised, and while alternative options for the building are discussed.

The temporary car park could operate for five years before construction begins on the second phase of Victoria Gate. The first phase is already under way.

Councillor Peter Gruen, the council’s cabinet spokesman for planning matters, said: “We do not have the powers that English Heritage has to protect important buildings, but we have done our upmost to secure a way forward in this case. Where our planning powers are limited we have to rely on negotiations with developers. I would like to thank Hammerson for engaging with us to come to this agreement.”

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