YEP Says: Leeds building boom is welcome, but job is far from over

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The YEP’s fifth floor office in Whitehall Road has proved a useful vantage point in recent years as the gradual regeneration of Leeds’s newest ‘boom quarter’ has taken shape.

In the last few months alone, we have seen a brand new hotel spring up, and the first phases of the Wellington Place development certainly look impressive.

All too often, the endless talk of masterplans and visions can come across intangible for ordinary Loiners, so it’s nice to see so many pieces of the city’s development jigsaw actually starting to come together. As planning expert Neil Walshaw points out, this vast area for too long had the feel of a wasteland – and a massively missed opportunity. But now, it is becoming an integral part of the retelling of Leeds’s regeneration story, as the much talked about riverside revolution in the railway station district and beyond continues.

But before we start celebrating too early, it is worth noting that some observers have criticised the kinds of one-note designs that are tending to dominate every new development this side of town. The talk seems to be endlessly of office blocks and car parks.

And welcome as they are, we’d love to see something truly inspiring and imaginative put forward. London has the Shard and the Gherkin. Come on, design brains. Surely Leeds can do as well if not better as we build our case for European Capital of Culture status?

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