Development plans for historic area of Leeds go before planning chiefs

Members of Leeds City Council�s plans panel were considering initial proposals to transform the George Street area, between Kirkgate Market and the Victoria Gate development, at Thursday's meeting.

These initial plans have been put together by Town Centre Securities following an open invitation by Leeds City Council, to all developers, for proposals to create a high-quality development for the gateway between the new Victoria Gate development and newly refurbished Kirkgate Market. Town Centre Securities also own other assets in the vicinity on Vicar Lane where redevelopment proposals are being considered.

The proposals include replacing the current outdated 1930s and 1980s buildings with a new apart-hotel and nine commercial units which will bring more visitors into the area and improve the flow of customers between the market and Victoria Gate. The high standard of the proposed development will attract high quality retailers which will not only add value to but also complement the existing offer in the market.

The ground floor commercial units will have entrances on George Street and form connections through to the former Butchers Row, which offers the opportunity to access the market from several points along George Street. The apart-hotel will also link directly into the market as well as from George Street to encourage guests to visit Kirkgate during their stay in Leeds. Bringing a high quality apart-hotel to this area of the city centre will bring positive economic impacts and help boost the visitor economy.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

�The redevelopment of the George Street area is a unique opportunity to enhance and revitalise an historic area of the city. We are at early stages of the proposals but we are keen to work with the developers to create the right development for this part of the city. The existing buildings are outdated and out of proportion with the Grade I Listed market building and the Victoria Leeds development opposite, so by creating a building more in-keeping with its new surroundings, we can encourage new visitors and enhance business for our market traders.�

Edward Ziff, Chairman and Chief executive at Town Centre Securities commented:

�Having successfully worked with Hammerson in the early stages of Victoria Gate, we are keen to continue regeneration of this area of the city, and ensure there are some strong linkages between Victoria Gate and the market. We believe the redevelopment of the George Street buildings will strengthen these linkages to the benefit of both�.

The meeting saw members review a pre-application submission and give valuable feedback on how the proposals will develop ahead of final approval for the scheme from the executive board later this year and a full planning application being submitted.

Discussions with the existing tenants who will be affected by the redevelopment have been taking place for a number of years and alternative arrangements have already been made with the majority, either to relocate elsewhere, potentially look to be part of the completed development or receive an appropriate level of compensation. Final arrangements are in the process of being made with the remaining traders.