Civic watchdog Leeds Civic Trust has weighed in to the debate over the future of the Tetley’s Brewery site. In its recent newsletter Mike Piet of the planning committee speaks out against plans for a commuter car aprk and encourages the council to ‘grasp a once in a lifetime opportunity to make Leeds a world centre for internet communications’…
Following the closure of the brewery, the owners (Carlsberg Tetley) applied for planning consent to demolish most of the buildings on the site (consent which was granted by the Council) and subsequently for consent to use the Listed headquarters building as a community arts complex and the cleared sites for commuter car parking.
The Trust’s Planning Committee reviewed the applications and gave support for the arts complex, accepting that an element of car parking may be required to fund this provision. We felt that car parking on the scale proposed was only acceptable if no alternative use could be found for existing buildings and/or there was no prospect of a viable development scheme.
In addition, the parking layout was unimaginative, additional landscaping should be provided and the Listed buildings on the south side of Crown Point Road should also be restored from income received.
As Trust members may have seen from the newspapers, a consortium of Leeds companies and developers has drawn up an alternative blueprint which would save the original brewery building and convert it into a high-tech data centre providing the whole of Leeds with super-fast broadband.
New family housing and converted offices would be heated by waste heat from the data centre. The derelict street of Listed houses and the Crown pub would be reconstructed at Bridge End, forming a historic focus to the area. Space would still be provided for the welcome South Bank Park and for some car parking which would maintain city centre provision while the Sovereign Street and Eastgate temporary car parks are redeveloped.
Through re-use of buildings, this would be a truly sustainable scheme. There would also be scope for arts facilities including a gallery in the development.
The developers say cash is available for an immediate starton the scheme, bringing new jobs and homes to the city within months. However, the key is retention of the present buildings and sale of the land.
The Trust is encouraging the city council to support this imaginative project (or any other constructive use of the site) rather than allow the creation of yet more temporary car parks. To that end, it has written to Members of Parliament, councillors and officers to encourage them to grasp this once in a lifetime opportunity to make Leeds a world centre for internet communications.
If you agree, please contact your councillor and ask them to reject plans for a temporary car park, and urge Carlsberg to hold off demolition, until all development options have been worked through.
* The Civic Trust also recently gave ‘reluctant’ support to the principle of converting The Kings Arms in Holbeck into flats.
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