Planning Issues – June 2024

It is the end of May and a visit to Leeds after a couple of
week’s holiday has shown that the city has not stopped

Through the Planning Committee, we try to ensure developments are positive in environmental, amenity and visual terms.

Only one presentation this month and this related to a proposed residential development close to the Armley Gyratory. It would provide up to 400 apartments of various sizes in three blocks up to 18 floors high – some duplex ‘town houses’ will be located at the bottom of the towers. There would be greenspace between the blocks (including a play area) and on roofs of lower sections. The red brick façade would feature contrasting textures and we welcomed the inclusion of balconies for many of the units. The Trust objected to earlier plans for the site as we felt a location surrounded by railways and busy roads is not appropriate for residential accommodation but, as consent was granted, the principal has been established. This revised scheme is better thought through, although we made some comments on design details and hope the applicant will take these into account as the project moves forward.

Last month, there was a more even balance between applications that we could support and those to which, we felt, it was necessary to object. We were able to welcome the following schemes:
  • Victoria Foundry, Marshall Street, Holbeck: this is an interesting conversion from offices to a mix of offices, artists’ studio and residential – it would revitalise a historic building and bring life to the area
  • Kirkstall Brewery Residences: surplus student accommodation would be used to house homeless young people and families – no physical changes to the buildings are proposed
  • Kiddal Hall, A64 York Road: a sensitive conversion of listed barns to residential units
  • Ribbons Sculpture, Quarry Hill: installation of steel structure naming women who have played a part in shaping Leeds.
We made comments on two additional schemes.
  • At the Griffin Hotel in Boar Lane, while being generally neutral on the proposed internal refurbishment, we felt a false ceiling in one rooms would obscure covings – the project should include restoration of the griffin sculpture over the entrance and the rooftop clock.
  • The second scheme was for the conversion of a mill building on Lady Pit Lane in Beeston to apartments – we were concerned over the spacing of new windows and the lack of external amenity space for residents.
As to objections, we felt this was merited by the following schemes:
  • Minton Chambers off Lower Briggate: sandwiched between service yards and the railway viaduct, we felt this was not an appropriate location for four residential town houses – to accommodate such a use, the historic warehouse would have to be drastically amended and would better remain as workspace
  • Eller Close, Roundhay: this is a very poor quality application from which it is impossible to determine the scope of the proposals
  • Mustard Wharf, Holbeck: we objected to advertising vinyls on the glazed terrace balustrades and were glad to see the application was refused
  • Broadcasting Tower, Woodhouse Lane: plans to advertise the building owner’s name on the side of the ‘rusty’ tower were withdrawn following numerous objections.

The Committee considered proposals for an external additions and internal alterations to the Tetley Headquarters. Our initial analysis of the plans seems to suggest removal of much of the historical fabric (this is not a listed building), which we would oppose, but we are going to reserve our position until we have had the opportunity to speak to the property owners Vastint and to inspect the interior of the building



Our ‘no comments’ this month related to new roofs at Temple Newsam Farm, railway arch enhancements in Bishopgate Street, sculptures at Bowcliffe Hall and shop-fitting schemes in Briggate and the County Arcade.

Updates on schemes previously discussed cover a number which have received planning consent, including more student accommodation in Briggate (above Footlocker) and Springfield House in Little Woodhouse. Plans for a Lidl supermarket on the site of the Mercure Hotel in Wetherby were refused but the company has now appealed against the decision. An application to convert and extend Arncliffe in Shire Oak Road (Headingley) to apartments was withdrawn following strong objections from conservation officers, alongside those from the Trust and other heritage bodies.

In our other committee meetings and in other sessions around the city, we noted the following planning, heritage and transport matters:
  • the Council is seeking to prepare a Heritage Strategy, as now required by many potential grant funders, and we look forward to being involved in this exercise
  • the first occupiers will soon be moving into the new office block close to the Tetley and, nearby, a developer has been identified to build an apartment block at Bridge End, opposite the Adelphi (much as suggested in the Trust’s ‘Bridge End, Dead End’ report written in 2000)
  • buildings around Leeds Dock are to be transformed into a hub for creative industries
  • a scheme for a Health Innovation Hub is being prepared for the Old Medical School alongside the LGI Gilbert Scott wing – its function as a Pathology Lab has moved to St James’s
  • an agreement with Homes England to fund infrastructure works will help deliver about 2,000 apartments, a hotel and offices at ‘South Village’, formerly known as City One and presently the site of Halfords at the M621 junction with Meadow Road
  • meetings with WYCA officers on plans for Mass Rapid Transit have been delayed by the general election as this puts a hold on ‘politically[1]sensitive’ discussions
  • the Transport & Liveable Leeds Group discussed the continuing lack of onward bus travel information at Leeds Station – we have complained about this for years but nothing is happening.

We look forward to meeting Councillors who have been given new responsibilities for subjects of interest to the Trust and to working with new (or ‘reassigned’) officers of Leeds City Council following staff changes in the Development Department. From the shortness of this article, May might be considered a quiet month but June is piling up already, with at least one presentation programmed. The election ‘purdah’ might lead to cancellation of more meetings but that will only make July busier as projects try and make up lost time.

Mike Piet
Chair of Leeds Civic Trust Planning Committee
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