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Acme-designed Leeds mega-project wins planning

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Leeds City Council has backed Hammerson’s reworked proposals for its huge £600million Eastgate Quarters in the centre of the West Yorkshire city

Designed by Acme and Benoy, the outline plans for the 92,900m² retail-led scheme will include flagship stores for John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, 130 retail and restaurants units, a new civic square, 2,500 space car park and the pedestrianisation of all the streets within the developoment area.

A low-carbon energy centre for the scheme by Acme has also been approved (AJ 14.04.11) consented which will provide heating, cooling and electricity required by the development, with the opportunity to also support neighbouring homes and businesses.

The initial masterplan had been designed to outline stage by Farrells in 2006, and subsequently worked up to detailed stage by a raft of big names including Thomas Heatherwick. Due to the economic downturn the developer decided to look again at the proposals, drop the large housing element.

Andrew Hilston, project director for Eastgate Quarters said: ‘Hammerson has been working hard over the past few years to develop the best possible scheme to put Leeds firmly on the retail map.  The scheme will create thousands of jobs, boosting the local economy, and will strengthen Leeds’ status as a leading European city destination.’

Previous story (AJ 01.10.10)

Hammerson unveils revised plans for Leeds mega-project

Developer Hammerson has revealed a reworked masterplan for its massive £650million Eastgate Quarters in Leeds

Originally designed to outline stage by Farrells in 2006, the latest masterplan for the huge retail-led city centre development has been drawn up by Acme and Benoy Architects.

The housing element of the previous £800 million scheme - which was worked up to detailed stage by a raft of big names including Thomas Heatherwick - has been dropped and a flagship John Lewis store relocated further south.

Billed as the ‘one of the largest city centre regeneration projects in the country’, the proposals also feature around 130 new shops and restaurants, a Marks and Spencer anchor store, a horseshoe-shaped, two-level arcade and a major new public square at the bottom of Eastgate.

The site has been mainly derelict and used as car parking for around 30 years, but also includes a terrace designed by Reginald Blomfield, who also remodelled London’s Regent Street.

Part of this will be taken down to improve connections through the site and to create the new square.

Hammerson’s project director Andrew Hilston said: ‘We are trying to regenerate the whole north Eastern sector of the city centre.

‘One of the main changes [between the new proposals and original masterplan] is that we are no longer bringing forward any residential elements as part of the project. It’s not just that there is a lot of stock already built but there are also lots of planning permissions for future housing developments [also in the pipeline].’

Acme, formed in 2007 by two former designers at Foreign Office Architects, is also designing a combined heat and power plant which will supply energy to the scheme and surrounding buildings.

Outline plans are expected to submitted by the end of the year.

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