August Round-Up

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August Round Up  A different format this month as we have not had any formal developer presentations but two quite lengthy internal discussions on our objectives for next year (what does the Committee do and how will we do it?) and on the draft LCT Transport Strategy being prepared by a sub-group of members.

We did consider a large number of planning applications and we were able to support the following:

  • former Lloyd’s Bank, Vicar Lane: conversion of upper floors for residential use
  • Victoria Mills, Hunslet: while supporting the principle of residential development and much of the detail, we objected to the addition of two extra floors on top of this very prominent brick mill building (they would adversely affect its scale and appearance) and we had some concern over the over-dominant car parking within the internal courtyards
    The Trust has long campaigned for the restoration of Hunslet Mill/Victoria Works
  • Wellington Place: the relocation of the existing five-a-side football pitch
  • 135-137 Briggate (formerly Gap): internal refurbishment and use of all floors
  • Greencroft Works, Yeadon: we objected to earlier plans which would have seen the loss of much of site’s heritage value but a new scheme retains some historic workshops while delivering new housing
  • Old Mining Building, University of Leeds: following a presentation, we changed our view and now support the approach to the reconstruction of this listed building – however, we still maintain that the drawings do not show roof-top plant we are convinced will be visible from a distance.

We objected to a number of applications:

  • Highland Inn, off Burley Road: although surrounded by student accommodation, we felt that the demolition of this historic building and its replacement by more student flats was not appropriate
  • new housing, Thorpe Park: considering this will soon be a well-connected location (although the proposed railway station is not mentioned in the documentation!), we felt the 292 dwellings should be built to a higher density to maximise the value of public transport investment
  • Manor Road, Holbeck: while we supported the principle of residential use and the overall design, we noted that the building would be higher than that allowed under the policy set out in the Holbeck Urban Village Masterplan
  • 26-34 Merrion Street: we objected to the addition of extra floors to these domestic-scale buildings alongside the Wrens public house.

We commented upon three applications, namely a new sculpture in City Square (we felt this space had a classical feel and a modern sculpture could look better elsewhere), plans for coloured window surrounds in a listed building by Leeds Bridge and a poor quality application for new flats in Holbeck.

We reviewed many other schemes upon which we decided to make no comment: various alterations within the Leeds University campus, refurbishment of Sovereign House (new entrance), apartments in Mabgate (scale and appearance already approved), new signs for Pizza Express behind the Corn Exchange, a number of parking schemes linked to the airport & offices at Seacroft, new doors to the old cinema beneath the Queen’s Hotel in City Square and a new BT phone box/cash machine installation in Woodhouse Lane (at least the cash machine will be useful!).

Planning updates include our on-going concerns with regard to use of listed buildings within the High Royds development at Menston (contrary to initially approved plans, the attractive ballroom will not be available for community use) and the fact that plans for the Leeds Club on Albion Street to become a pub/restaurant have been approved (with the listed Victorian urinals covered up in what will become the ladies’ WC!).

We have picked up a lot of other matters which may be of interest to members:

  • plans are moving forward to install a District Heating Network, utilising hot water pumped from the Cross Green Waste Plant to heat buildings in Richmond Hill, Quarry Hill and Lincoln Green
  • subject to approval of a lottery bid, works to refurbish the Playhouse (including use of waste heat!) could start in June 2018 and take 15 months to complete
  • the Grand Theatre could be the focus of a new Conservation Area, with plans for pavement widenings and enhancement of nearby buildings – consultation on this closes on 7 August 2017
  • the redevelopment of parts of the Headingley Cricket & Rugby Ground should start in early September, ensuring international cricket and rugby can remain in the city
  • the Temple Green Park & Ride just by junction 45 of the M1 has opened successfully – a new depot for High Speed 2 trains has been proposed for land alongside
  • we have commented on plans for reconstructing the road junction outside Merrion House – while including some valuable enhancements, we felt the design could be more pedestrian-focused given the high student and Arena-user volumes at peak periods
  • new rise & fall bollards are proposed to control vehicle access to the city centre pedestrian precincts – they will also provide an additional security measure
  • Burberry has announced that it will not be proceeding with restoration of Temple Mill, although it will relocate office staff to the city and is still considering building a factory here
  • Leeds City Council has adopted its ‘Cycling Starts Here’ strategy
  • the Council will be reviewing key elements of its Core Strategy, including that part which determines the number of new homes required in Leeds – this could influence the area of land which needs to be set aside for housebuilding
  • the city centre Ruth Gorse Academy, which Trust members helped promote, has been given an ‘outstanding’ rating by OFSTED – a real coup for the South Bank Education Hub.

Mike Piet

Planning Committee Chair