Was there a recession recently? No-one told Leeds City Centre, which carried on with ‘business as usual’, with new developments across the city and it’s not finished yet... here are six recent and forthcoming schemes.
VICTORIA GATE, JOHN LEWIS
In terms of investments, this is one of the largest the city has seen in decades, costing an estimated £165m. It also required the demolition of part of the Lower Headrow and the former Millgarth Police Station, making way for the now complete Victoria Gate development, whose anchor store is John Lewis.
The development is so successful, it has already welcomed its one millionth customer. It has also had a knock-on effect for the wider area, with the green light being given for the Quarry Hill regeneration project (see below for details).
QUARRY HILL REGENERATION
Calls for West Yorkshire Playhouse to be given a facelift have been heard for several years but it looks like that dream could become a reality, as part of the imaginative Quarry Hill Regeneration Scheme, a 85,000 sq ft development, which will link the Victoria Gate with Quarry House (also known as The Kremlin) and include businesses and apartments.
City leaders have said the scheme is one of the last remaining ‘jigsaw pieces’ in the regeneration of the city centre. West Yorkshire Playhouse is in the process of securing funding for a refurb.
FIRST WHITE CLOTH HALL, KIRKGATE
It is one of the oldest buildings in Leeds, dating back to 1711 but sadly it is also one of its most neglected.
Earlier this year, Leeds City Council announced it wanted to compulsory purchase what remains of the building which arguably made Leeds the city it is today, a move which has been praised by Leeds Civic Society, which has long campaigned for its renovation. Now, the National Lottery has also backed the scheme with £1.5m, which could attract a further £4.5m, to create a 2,000sq ft shopping arcade and 28 new jobs.
WELLINGTON PLACE WHITEHALL ROAD
It might be another five years before the development spreads all the way to the edge of the River Aire but make no mistake, the shiny, angular office blocks which will make up Wellington Place are on the march and will, eventually, replace the car parks which currently sit off Whitehall Road. The scheme won planning permission way back in 2008 but it already considered a success. Three of the buildings are already fully operational and more are being built, centred around the historic wagon hoist, a relic from the old railway station.
RAILWAY STATION ENTRANCE
The £17.3m southern entrance, near Little Neville Street opened earlier this year and caters for some 20,000 passengers - around a fifth of the station’s total - every day.
Leeds Station Southern Entrance is a joint project between West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council, the Department for Transport and Network Rail.
The £20m scheme has secured £12.4m from DfT as well as funding from West Yorkshire’s Local Transport Plan, Network Rail and Leeds City Council.
SOUTH BANK DEVELOPMENT
This scheme is so large it will effectively double the size of the city centre, it will create a new park and open up the waterfront, bringing many of the city’s historic buildings back into use. The ambitious £350m design will also put pedestrians and cyclists first and could mean massive road layout changes around the former Tetley’s Brewery site.
It could create 4,000 new homes, not to mention dozens of businesses and six new public spaces. It will also encompass the planned HS2 rail link. Planners are hoping to get the green light to begin work in about 18 months.