YEP Says (Feb 10): Vital cash for Leeds city centre scheme to be welcomed

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The expected announcement of nearly £1m to make sure the long-awaited Victoria Gate development is well-connected to the rest of the city centre is most welcome.

When completed the scheme will bring the largest John Lewis store outside of London to the city, as well as 30 retail and restaurant units in the adjoining arcade.

Alongside Trinity Leeds it promises to make Leeds one of the best retail venues in the country and create hundreds of jobs in the city.

This is why it is so vital that the scheme gets off on the right foot straight away.

While developer Hammersons has included plans for 800 car park spaces at the site it is very important that we can access the scheme as pedestrians from around the city.

It can be easy to underestimate the importance of so-called public realm works but one of Leeds’s great strengths since the city centre began to be regenerated is that most of it is comfortably traversed on foot. This means that shoppers visiting Victoria Gate can easily enjoy the rest of the city centre and what it has to offer.

It also represents a prudent use of taxpayers’ cash, with a section of its funding expected to come from the sell-off of parcels of land around the development.

All told this investment promises to make the opening in autumn a proud new chapter in the city’s history.