It is a well known fact that Leeds is a two speed city and that there are some communities which are excluded from the success which the city has achieved as the regional capital. We are delighted to be working with Leeds Community Foundation towards their goal of building better communities and providing financial and operational support to the hundreds of groups who are already working hard in these communities. I have recently become a Children?s Champion for the Foundation and I intend to do all I can to raise their profile and ensure that those who are successful in the city recognise the need to support those who are not, very much along the lines of the Foundation in New York.
After 5 years of negotiation and planning, we are delighted to welcome Urban Splash to Leeds at Saxton, their landmark scheme in the heart of the East bank of Leeds. The scheme has many unique attributes, aside from the inevitable design and architectural quality that Urban Splash always bring. These include the fact that the new apartments will be at the heart of an existing community and that the buildings themselves will be surrounded by around 4 acres of landscaped grounds which will include allotments for the use of the new enlarged community. Take a look at www.noplacelikegnome.co.uk
You may have noticed a building appearing on a piece of land between the West Yorkshire and the BBC on St Peter?s Square recently. The result of 6 or 7 years of hard work and inspired by the lateral thinking of Peter Connolly, a great friend and patron of the Playhouse, the building, which has been designed by Brewster Bye architects, will rise to 14 stories and afford some great westerly views of the city centre. The bulk of the scheme has been pre-sold but the 8th to 14th floors have been held back for release closer to completion. To be known as The Skyline Apartments, they will be aimed at the owner occupier community who are increasingly prevalent in the city centre market.
With the crane having been removed from site before Christmas last year, Bridgewater entered its most interesting phase as the drive to find occupiers moved up a gear. Needless to say, it has not been too difficult. Office occupiers will include Eversheds, who will be the anchor, and Ernst and Young. Meanwhile, on the ground floor, food and drink will be provided in copious amounts by Sous Le Nez, Philpotts and Bagel Nash amongst others. The first apartment completions are literally just starting to happen.
Sainsbury?s is set to open its first convenience store in Leeds City Centre in The Merrion Centre following a deal with Town Centre Securities PLC, who own and manage the Centre.
The 3,370 sq ft store will be located in Woodhouse Lane on the outside of The Merrion Centre. The Centre is to benefit from a multi-million pound external improvement project currently being undertaken by Town Centre Securities PLC, including a complete new Woodhouse Lane elevation.
Euan McMurdo, Head of Property Convenience at Sainsbury?s said: ?The store provides us with an exciting opportunity to bring the Sainsbury?s offer into the heart of Leeds City Centre. Our convenience stores cater for busy urban locations providing an easy option for those living and working nearby to shop for fresh, quality, products. The Merrion Centre provides us with the ideal location.?
Leeds City Council?s executive board met on Wednesday, 4 July, to hear about the progress made on the scheme and agree the proposed criteria for the selection of a developer.
Later this month the council will publish an official notice seeking developers to submit expressions of interest in the scheme and it is expected that an initial long-list of developers will go forward for consideration in August.
Councillor Andrew Carter, Leeds City Council executive member for development and regeneration, said:
?It is extremely important to the delivery of the arena that the process which we go through to secure an operator and developer is transparent to all involved and that the council?s expectations for the scheme are fully understood.
In particular, developers will need to show that they are capable of delivering the required level of investment and are able to deliver a scheme of this scale and complexity. We will be carefully assessing the financial and economic impact of any proposals that come forward with a view to making sure any development achieves our ambitions for the project.”
The two top dance companies in the North of England could soon be celebrating if a report to Leeds City Council?s executive board (on 13 June 2007) is accepted. The report recommends that Leeds City Council should take a lead role in delivering a project to develop a new headquarters at Quarry Hill for Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre.
Under the proposals, Leeds City Council would take over delivery of the £11.67m project from the developers. The cost of the project would be met through a combination of grant aid from Arts Council England and other funding raised by Northern Ballet Theatre, Phoenix Dance Theatre, and Leeds City Council.
In a further step to ensure that the city centre can support a resident population, an NHS walk in centre has opened in The Light.
?We treat minor illnesses and minor injuries. Our team includes experienced nurses, a GP and a physiotherapist. No appointment is necessary and you don?t need to be registered with a GP. The centre complements existing local services. It is not intended to replace local GP or hospital services. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm. We are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.?
A great addition to the scene!!
Having been deprived of convenience shopping since the dawn of city living, residents will soon be overwhelmed with choice as Tesco and Sainsbury?s are both to open in the city centre. It is also rumoured that both the Co-op and Tesco are looking for a further store. Great news for the price of a pint of milk!
One of the worlds biggest ceremonies, held in Dubai last year, is taking place in Yorkshire in early June. Unfortunately, the main events will be in Sheffield and Bradford. If Leeds is serious about its future as regional capital, then it must surely strive hard to make sure it gets that arena and conference centre it desperately needs and deserves.