Site of former Leeds tank factory eyed for homes

SITE: A former tank factory in Leeds could become a major new housing development. PIC: Gent Visick.
SITE: A former tank factory in Leeds could become a major new housing development. PIC: Gent Visick.
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A former tank factory in Leeds that played a role in past conflicts could become a major new homes development.

Leeds property consultancy Gent Visick has negotiated the sale of the 45-acre site at Cross Gates, known as Radial Park, for an undisclosed sum to Strata, on behalf of Columbia Threadneedle Investments.

Gent Visick also advised the global asset manager when it originally acquired the site in 2001 from Vickers Defence Systems, which used to manufacture both Challenger 1 and Challenger 2 tanks on the site until the 1990s.

Before that, much of the site was used to produce munitions and heavy armoured vehicles.

Vehicles types including the Centurion and Chieftain were later produced there. Gent Visick has managed a planning process at Radial Park and previously advised on the sale of 12 acres to house builder Bellway, which has already developed the western side the site.

Demolition of Radial Park’s 300,000 sq ft factory is currently underway.

Rupert Visick, managing director at Gent Visick, said: “Radial Park is one of the region’s most famous industrial sites and as a company we have been intricately involved in every stage of its evolution, as we’ve worked towards unlocking its residential potential. It has proved to be a hugely successful investment for Columbia Threadneedle and is now ready to be regenerated and given a new lease of life, which is a vision that Strata is ideally placed to achieve, so we’re delighted to agree this significant deal.”

Gemma Smith, sales and marketing director at Strata, said: “We’re really excited about this new chapter at Radial Park.”

PROUD HISTORY OF FACTORY

During the Second World War the Royal Ordnance Factory made armaments for British troops.

Employing at its peak 3,000 workers including 2,000 women, it produced around 9,000 guns – six and 25 pounders, 3.7 inch anti-aircraft guns, 40mm Bofors and 17 pounders for Sherman tanks.

Between 1945 and closure in 1999 over 4,000 Centurion, Chieftain and Challenger tanks were built here.

Although the Bellway Homes housing estate has been built on part of the site, a blue plaque was put up on the entrance gates to the former factory in Manston Lane.