Revamp plans for Leeds city centre’s New Briggate quarter

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A key part of Leeds city centre is in line for a major revamp - with several council-owned assets set to be sold off or leased out to make way for new developments.

Plans have been revealed to revitalise the New Briggate area and transform it into a “vibrant urban village”,

Leeds City Council’s decision-making executive board will next week be invited to debate an initial blueprint which offers what the council calls “a string of regeneration opportunities”.

The vision includes improvements for Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, as well as better links to nearby Lovell Park, the Arena quarter and Phase 2 of the Victoria Gate development.

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The authority is also looking to offer up its pay and display car park at Cross Belgrave Street and the current vacant council-owned property at 26-32 Merrion Street to private developers.

It is hoped this could lead to a “public realm” improvements around Belgrave Gardens.

The currently empty units at 34-40 New Briggate, located under The Grand and the Howard Assembly Rooms, could also be leased out.

If approved, the proposals will look to kick-start a fresh vision for the New Briggate area that - it is hoped - will help support existing businesses, attract more investment, boost round-the-clock visitors and provide a bridge to the city centre from inner city areas.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “New Briggate is an area with a tremendous amount of potential and the time is right to look at what we can do to bring about some positive changes which could maximise that potential and make this a much more vibrant and exciting part of the city centre.

“For us, that is about making the most of what we have here and now so we can work with local businesses and the private sector to encourage investment, bring about improvements and help New Briggate be all that it can be.”

A report to the executive board recommends that 26-32 Merrion Street be declared surplus and that the board supports the invitation of proposals to develop the pay and display car park and “re-order” the public space around Belgrave Gardens.

If the board gives the nod to the report, an initial expression of interest exercise for the leasing of 34-40 New Briggate will start, and could be followed by a feasibility study for public realm improvements.

Councillor Lewis added: “The New Briggate area can be a bridge between people living in inner city residential areas and some of the fantastic retail and leisure opportunities like Victoria Gate and the Arena quarter.

“By making some of these changes, there is the potential to create a modern urban village feel that will be attractive to residents as well as lunchtime and evening visitors.”

The executive board will meet on October 21.

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