NEWS ROUNDUP: White Rose rail station
24/06/21 | Leeds local news | A new rail station near the White Rose Centre is now one step closer after Leeds City Council decision-makers agreed to push forward plans for the site.
Members of the council’s decision-making executive board agreed to provide a loan to landowners and developers Munroe K for a new station at White Rose Office Park, which could be built as early as next year.
Previous plans to bring forward a new rail station on the site had suggested the closure of nearby Cottingley Station, but neither the latest documents, nor any members at the Executive Board meeting, made any such reference.
Briefly presenting the item to colleagues, the council’s deputy leader Coun Debra Coupar (Lab) said: “It is much needed in that area of the city around ensuring we have good economic recovery and employment facility for local residents.”
A document by Leeds City Council officers states: “The station will support the city’s response to the climate emergency by helping to take cars off the road to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.
“It will improve accessibility of rail services and better serve the communities of Cottingley, Churwell and Millshaw, whilst also better connecting people to jobs, education and training.”
It added that Munroe K would act as the developer of the station., and that construction could start in autumn this year and be finished by late 2022.
The station is forecast to cost around £22m, with £5m expected to come from the council’s Connecting Leeds grant scheme; £5m from the Government’s New Stations Fund, £12m from its Transforming Cities Fund, and “up to £4.5m” from Munroe K.
Leeds City Council plans to provide a loan facility to Munroe K to finance the company’s “maximum contribution to the scheme”.
The report added: “This is to ensure momentum to the station is maintained, whilst helping to accelerate the delivery of economic and environmental benefits.”
An area of land between Churwell viaduct to the north and Walkers Bridge to the south had been earmarked for the development.
A council report from June 2020 had suggested that the building of a new White Rose Station could spell the end for nearby Cottingley station, as having two rail stations situated in such close proximity may not be viable.
The latest report does not make reference to any closure of other stations, though it does include the line: “It will improve accessibility of rail services and better serve the communities of Cottingley, Churwell and Millshaw, whilst also better connecting people to jobs, education and training.”
(LDRS | Richard Beecham)
A senior Leeds City Council officer has admitted Leeds United “changed their minds at a very late stage”, after the emergence of plans by the club to pull out of a proposed new training ground on a former south Leeds school site.
It follows news last week that the club no longer planned to build a training ground at the former Matthew Murray High School, as expanding Elland Road to a 55,000 capacity was a bigger priority.
The club’s revised stadium plan will instead mean a proposed switch for the Parklife community facility, from Fullerton Park to the Matthew Murray site in Holbeck, where Leeds had planned to build a £25m state-of-the-art training facility.
Members of Leeds City Council’s decision-making Executive Board heard this was because there would not be room to include the scheme along with the extra stadium capacity, park and ride and ice rink on the Fullerton Park site.
Under the new proposals, facilities provided by Parklife would now include; four 3G artificial grass pitches, a community café, a gym and a GP practice. The council says Leeds United have agreed to cover the cost of the design fees incurred by the suggested move, believed to be around £325,000.
It follows plans announced by the club back in 2019 to move the “bulk” of its Thorpe Arch training facilities to the site of Matthew Murray school over the next few years.
Speaking at this week’s Executive Board meeting, the leader of the council’s Conservatives group Coun Andrew Carter said: “Would it be true to say Leeds United have changed their minds on this at a very late stage, and that it’s somewhat delayed the whole process?
“I support the paper but it has been left a bit late and delayed the whole process. That irks me, because Woodhall Playing Fields are part of the Parklife scheme – I hope the Woodhall proposals are included when this comes back.”
Senior Leeds City Council officer Martin Farrington responded: “It’s late – it couldn’t have been left any later. But as members of the council, you would want to have regard to Elland Road as a football stadium.
“Leeds United have changed their position and wish to expand their stadium to 55,000 seats, so if we can facilitate that, that is the reason for the recommendations.
“Leeds United will pay our costs for redesign, recognising we are acting at their request.”
He added that plans for Woodhall should be able to be brought forward to the Football Foundation, which will run the Parklife scheme.
The council had agreed to enter negotiations with Leeds United for the development of a new training ground and academy at the former Matthew Murray High School site back in 2017.
A number of sites were then shortlisted by the council two years later, with Fullerton Park securing planning approval and tenders for pricing of the works were being prepared.
At the same time they approved an agreement with Leeds United for the Matthew Murray site, to allow the club to come up with proposals for a new training ground.
But, after the club’s promotion to the Premier League, they decided they wanted to increase the stadium capacity to 55,000, and that the extra space needed would mean either moving the Parklife initiative to another area within Fullerton Park, or to the former Matthew Murray High School site.
The council was approached by the club a few months ago to review the Parklife layout to see if the scheme could be re-sited in Fullerton Park.
A council report said there was insufficient space in Fullerton Park for the ice rink, park and ride, Parklife and stadium expansion. The club then asked the council to look into building the Parklife hub on the Matthew Murray site, and that the club would meet any costs in the early stages of redeveloping the scheme.
At the meeting this week, councillors agreed in principle to move the Parklife scheme to the former Matthew Murray site, subject to Leeds United meeting the additional design costs.
They also agreed to that council officers work in partnership with the club on a revised masterplan for the Elland Road Stadium and Fullerton Park area, meaning designs for the stadium expansion could be put together in the coming months.
Parklife is a national programme funded by the Football Association (FA), the Premier League, the Government, Sport England and the Football Foundation aimed at introducing all-weather football facilities available all year round.
A shortfall of 13 additional full size all-weather pitches across Leeds was identified and football authorities believe the scheme will ‘go a long way’ to addressing that shortfall.
It would consist of one full sized all-weather pitch, one 9v9 all-weather pitch, two 5-a-side all-weather pitches, an NHS facility including treatment rooms and pharmacy, a gym, changing rooms and café facility and car parking.
Design development is expected to take place between then and November 2021 before a planning submission in December and potential approval in February 2022.
Work is hoped to start on-site in July or August 2022, and be finished by August 2023.
(LDRS | Richard Beecham)
The spectacular Leeds Waterfront Festival is set to make a triumphant return this weekend with its biggest ever series of events and activities.
After last year’s event had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, organisers have been working hard to bring together a summer-long celebration this year which will showcase the best of the city’s waterfront and South Bank area.
Organised by Leeds City Council alongside the Canal and River Trust, Leeds Dock, The Tetley, Citu, The Royal Armouries, Brewery Wharf and Granary Wharf, the festival begins with a launch weekend on June 26-27 and is the largest of its kind in the north.
Events will take place in line with social distancing and with safety measures and advice in place for those attending.
Highlights at this year’s event will include the chance to take to the water with canoeing taster sessions at Granary Wharf, with sessions for all ages and experience levels, especially suitable for beginners.
Families will also be able to travel back in time and go on an interactive theatrical journey to find out what makes the canal so special thanks to a series of special themed walks led by open-air theatre company Rusticus.
Sean McGinley, director Yorkshire and North East for Canal and River Trust, said:
Leeds Waterfront Festival is always a brilliant event but this year it feels even more special with a whole summer of celebrations.
“Leeds is real gem of a city, so it’s great to celebrate the waterways which help make it one of the most vibrant places in the North of England.
“We know there are real health benefits of being by water and we can’t wait to welcome people back for what should be one of the best Waterfront Festivals we’ve seen.”
Adam Roe head of development and engagement at The Tetley added: "After what has been an incredibly challenging 18 months the Waterfront Festival is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the reopening of the rich cultural offer across our city.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for us all to pick up where we left off in March 2020 and get back out and enjoy fantastic art, amazing food and drink and just be part of a shared cultural experience. Here at The Tetley we’re delighted to be welcoming people back again to see all the work that’s been happening behind closed doors. We look forward to seeing you again soon."
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for culture, economy and education, said: “It’s fantastic news that the Leeds Waterfront Festival will be returning this year and that more venues than ever will be taking part in what is always a highlight of the summer events calendar and a real celebration of the city’s past, present and future.
“This event will also carry with it added significance this year, after what has been one of the hardest times in living memory for Leeds. I hope the Leeds Waterfront Festival will be a cornerstone of a wonderful and well-deserved summer for Leeds.”
More information including a full event programme can be found on the Leeds Waterfront Festival website or on social media on Facebook @leedswaterfrontfestival on Twitter @leeds_wf or on Instagram @leeds_wf.
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