Victoria Quarter: Leeds shopping arcade up for European award

The Victoria Quarter.
The Victoria Quarter.
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THE Victoria Quarter in Leeds is shortlisted as one of the best places to be in Europe.

Fifteen places will battle it out for the chance to be voted top in the 2012 Urbanism Awards.

The Leeds shopping arcade, renowned as one of the UK’s top shopping destinations is shortlisted in the ‘Great Place’ category, along with Gillet Square, in Hackney and Queen Square, in Bristol.

Home to dozens of prestigious shops, it was built around 1900 and designed by the theatre architect Frank Matcham. It was restored and re-opened in 1990 with its impressive glass roof.

Judges said: “Complemented by careful design, the use of artists, and a balanced mix of tenants, the Victoria Quarter’s original sense of place has been re-created. A popular venue, the Victoria Quarter now has an integral place in the character of Leeds.”

John Bade, centre director, said: “The centre is housed in some of the finest Victorian buildings combined with sympathetic contemporary features, such as Brian Clarke’s stained glass roof, to create an atmospheric continental environment.

“To have made the shortlist for these awards is another accolade for the centre and testimony to the foresight of developers. With many people visiting the centre for its architectural appeal, this recognition is not only good for us but for Leeds itself, and another reason for shoppers to visit the city.”

The venue is housed in an elegant Grade II listed building which is home to 76 leading fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry and department store Harvey Nichols.

The Academy of Urbanism, whose members include architects, planners, engineers, developers and designers, will judge titles of European City of the Year, Great Town, Great Neighbourhood, Great Street and Great Place at its annual Urbanism Awards in London on November 11.

A panel of assessors is to visit Leeds. Urbanism’s chairman Kevin Murray said: “Urbanism is about learning how building a better environment can improve our communities and quality of life.”

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