Agenda item

Application 22/01889/FU - Site of Yorkshire Bank, Merrion Way and land fronting Leeds Arena, Clay Pit Lane, Leeds

To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding a hybrid planning application for the demolition of Yorkshire Bank, Merrion Way and the construction of two student residential accommodation buildings and a multi-use events’ building.


The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented a hybrid planning application for the demolition of the Yorkshire Bank, Merrion Way and the construction of two student residential accommodation buildings and a multi-use events building on the site of the Yorkshire Bank, Merrion Way and land fronting Leeds Arena, Clay Pit Lane, Leeds.


The application was considered and deferred at the meeting of City Plans Panel held in August 2022.


Site plans and photographs were displayed and referred to throughout the discussion of the application.


The following was highlighted:


·  The proposals had previously been brought to Panel for a pre-application presentation and a workshop had been held.  The application was considered by Panel in August 2022 when it was deferred to allow for further consideration of objections that had been submitted.

·  The site was within the city centre boundary and was a prestige development area.

·  The location was appropriate for the development of tall buildings.

·  The existing turning head at the Arena would be used as access to one of the sites.

·  Main views of the Arena from Clay Pit Lane would be retained.

·  The development would be built in three phases.  The final phase being the multi-purpose venue building.

·  There would be significant planting to the south of the site with new trees along Clay Pit Lane.

·  The building at Block A would have 714 bed spaces along with amenity space and kitchen facilities.  Layouts of typical floor plans were displayed.  The building would have a polished aluminium and glazed finish with extensive glazing at ground floor level.

·  The building at Block B would be an L shaped building at the junction of Clay Pit Lane and Merrion Way.  There would be amenity space to the rear of the building with landscaping to the front and eastern sides.  The building would step up from 7 storeys to 21 storeys.  The roof of the building would have bio solar roofing and amenity space.  The materials proposed would be of a terracotta grid design which would be sympathetic with the conservation area.

·  The multi-purpose event building would have a maximum height of 28 metres which would be gained in five steps.  An outline of the mass of the building was displayed.

·  Since the meeting in August issues relating to nature conservation, drainage and the concerns of the Health and Safety Executive had been addressed.

·  An updated economic impact assessment had been prepared and found that the impact on Harrogate would be reasonably negligible.  A peer review of the report had come to a similar conclusion.

·  There had been some additional objections since the publication of the agenda but these had not raised any new concerns.

A representative of the Harrogate Convention Centre addressed the Panel with objections to the application.  These included the following:


·  The size and scope of the multi-purpose venue had a larger size and scope than what was first thought.

·  The proposed centre would be in direct competition with Harrogate Convention Centre and there would be an adverse impact on Harrogate Town Centre.

·  The proposals did not meet policy requirements with regards to safeguarding the viability of Harrogate Town Centre.

·  There would be a significant trade divergence.

·  Many businesses in Harrogate disagreed with the proposals.

·  The economic impact assessment did not take account of all issues raised by Harrogate.

·  Trade diversion could be as high as 51%.

·  The peer review agreed that the centre would be larger than originally proposed and did not take account of the impact on accommodation.


The Director of City Development addressed the Panel in support of the application.  Issues highlighted included the following:


·  As a core city, Leeds was competing on both a national and international level.

·  Arenas in other cities had complimentary facilities for other events.

·  There were similar concerns from Sheffield when the Arena was developed.  These concerns did not prove to give a disadvantage and ultimately the development of the Arena had wider benefits for the Yorkshire region.

·  A detailed study had been undertaken to assess the impact on Harrogate Town Centre in accordance with policy.  This had been peer reviewed and it was concluded that the trade diversion would 0.2 to 2.6% and that the impact on Harrogate Town Centre would be insignificant or negligible.

·  Members were asked to approve the application to support the tourism and economy of the city centre and to enable Leeds to fulfil its role both nationally and internationally.


Members were asked to comment on the application.  The following was highlighted:


·  The proposals were welcomed and would provide required facilities for events, businesses and organisations.

·  The proposals would provide iconic buildings that blended in well with the surroundings.

·  Some disappointment at the loss of the Yorkshire Bank Building.

·  The proposals had been well thought out and would provide a unique and well designed development at an entrance to the city centre.


RESOLVED – That the content of the supplementary report which was provided by way of an addendum to the report to City Plans Panel on 1 August 2022 be noted and the application be deferred and delegated to the Chief Planning Officer for approval subject to the specified conditions set out in Appendix 5 (and any amendment to these and addition of others which he might consider appropriate) and the completion of a Section 111 agreement appending a draft Section 106 agreement to include the following obligations:


·  Occupation of student accommodation solely by students in full-time higher education during recognised term-times.

·  Compliance with agreed Travel Plan measures and an indexed travel plan review fee of £10,516 for the student developments and £3,429 for the multi-use events building.

·  Contribution of £729,624 (indexed) towards off-site highway and environmental improvements in the area.

·  Access to the public realm.

·  Local employment and training initiatives.

·  Section 106 management fee £1,800


In the circumstances where the Section 111 Agreement has not been completed within 3 months of the resolution to grant planning permission, the final determination of the application shall be delegated to the Chief Planning Officer.



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