Aerial CGI of Wellington Place in Leeds

Green light for next phase of Leeds city centre development

Updated outline proposals for the next phase of a major mixed-use development in Leeds has been agreed – giving the go ahead for 830,000 sq ft office space, 250,000 sq ft residential space, 50,000 sq ft retail, a 230-bed hotel and a multi-storey car park.

The applicant behind Wellington Place, Developer and Asset Manager MEPC, has said the whole site will employ 16,000 people and represent a total investment of £600m in the city of Leeds once complete.

The commercial development, which is now home to over 30 businesses, currently provides more than 860,000 sq ft of office and retail space.

It has now received permission for six further development plots, three of which will have frontage to the River Aire. Set on the west side of the development, phase two will see the addition of 830,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and 250,000 sq ft of residential property, which will provide space for 200 one, two and three-bed apartments.

The plan will also see the addition of a 50,000 sq ft of retail, health and community facilities, plus a 230-bed hotel – as well as a multi-storey car park, with a capacity for up to 500 spaces.

The site will boast interconnecting walking routes to improve links with the wider community – as well as public spaces with new open areas at Viaduct Square and a pedestrian riverside walk.

The first building to break ground as part of phase two is programmed to be 12 Wellington Place, with work due to begin early next year. This will be the tallest building in the development at ten stories high, offering a mix of office, retail and leisure space. This will have a roof terrace, metallic bronze façade and the planting of multiple groves and avenues of trees around the perimeter.

A meeting this afternoon (Thursday 27) of Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel considered the application for the latest stage of the plans in detail.

Councillors were told there would be two access points, one from Wellington Place to the north and from Whitehall Road to the south. And pedestrians would have access to a footbridge and viaduct crossing the River Aire.

Cllr Neil Walshaw stressed he wanted to see the finished development comply with the highest possible environmental standards.

Cllr Peter Carlill said he was concerned the proposed residential building was bounded by the access road, and located further away from green spaces. “It does look like the residents of that building will feel like they’re living on the edge of an office park,” he added.

A council representative noted that as this would be an access road, it was not anticipated that it would be very busy.

Cllr Peter Gruen said the council had experienced enforcement problems with developments in the past, and emphasised the conditions it places on this application must ensure strict adherence to the rules.

He noted: “In terms of the connectivity on the site, I want to know that foot-ways will be paved and that lighting and drainage will be maintained, because if we can’t enforce these things we will lose out.” He said he wanted permanent measures to be in place to cut down people’s reliance on car journeys to and from the site.

Members of the panel also asked about the impact that cars from the new development would place on current congestion along Wellington Street, with Cllrs Elizabeth Nash and Kayleigh Brooks warning traffic jams on this road at peak times were already a “nightmare”.

However, the panel overwhelmingly accepted the outline plans, with just one abstention.

Commenting after the meeting, Paul Pavia, Head of Development at applicant MEPC, said: “It’s fantastic news that we’ve been given approval for the updated plans for the second phase of the Wellington Place development. The site has already had such an incredible impact on Leeds City Region, with an investment of over £300m to date and almost 5,000 people already working at the development.

“Phase two is the next step in creating a multi-use hub – providing a mix of office, residential and leisure space.”

Oliver Freer, Director of Planning and Development at CBRE Limited, added: “We’re delighted to have secured planning permission on behalf of MEPC and its investors for the next phase.

“This is an exciting time for this nationally significant development, and we look forward to seeing the detailed proposals come forward for the remaining plots which will mark the completion.”

At present, 7 and 8 Wellington Place – to be occupied by the HMRC – are nearing completion and work expected to finish at the end of 2019. 4 Wellington Place is also currently under construction and will offer an additional 156,000 sq ft of Grade A office, retail and leisure space when it opens in 2020.

Source: The Business Desk

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