On Sunday 16 May, work is set to start on transforming the public realm outside the city’s iconic Corn Exchange building.
The work, which will run alongside and complement the Connecting Leeds highways work, will see planted trees lining the streets to create a welcoming green space and shelter for wildlife, safer routes through for cyclists, and crossing points designed to assist pedestrians to navigate through the space safely.
Leeds City Council will also enter into a lease with the Corn Exchange and its owners Rushbond, in a bid to create a new Pavilion building alongside the new outdoor seating area in the public space outside Corn Exchange capable of hosting an array of outdoor events and activities along with ‘al-fresco’ dining. The building will be built by Rushbond and is subject to further planning approvals.
The public space in the City Centre will provide a major new amenity for the people of Leeds, a place to meet, greet and experience, with the backdrop of one of the City’s most celebrated buildings. To support this Rushbond is proposing a significant capital injection of funding into the scheme. The rest of the scheme will be funded by part of the £8.6m of match funding from the government’s Getting Building Fund which is part of Leeds’ £12.2m Grey to Green programme.
The money is specifically allocated to support the delivery of “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects to boost economic growth, and fuel local recovery and jobs. Under the principles outlined in the Our Spaces strategy (which sets out a vision for the creation of world class, public realm and green space within the city centre of Leeds), a further 3 key areas are included in the Grey to Green Programme. These include:
- Meadow Lane green space – a gateway to the City Park
- Sovereign Square footbridge
- Crown Point Road reconfiguration and greening.
Construction will be carried out by John Sisk & Son and is set to be complete by spring 2022. To support this work, the upper section of Call Lane will be closed to buses and private hire vehicles. Bus stop changes can be found here.
Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development said:
“It is exciting to see this important project come in to fruition in a bid to provide our beautiful Corn Exchange building a befitting setting. Removing excess street clutter, planting more greenery, providing safer routes for cyclists and improving the safety of the crossings will transform this key gateway in to one which is central to a vibrant and independent retail, food, drink and day-time and nightlife offer.
“This, alongside the other three inter-related grey to green schemes will help us make Leeds City Centre cleaner and greener; helping to unlock major commercial and residential development across the centre of Leeds, as well as the delivery of private sector investment in to the new City Park; the largest new city centre green space in the region.”