Is education going to be the salvation of Leeds old industrial heartland south of the River Aire?
Last week central government gave the initial go-ahead to a new free school south of the river – with 1,500 pupils, the biggest in the country. In September Leeds City College is opening its new campus at the former Alf Cooke Printworks on Hunslet Rd. And now plans have been revealed for a new campus for Leeds College of Building nearby.
Councillors will get a first look at the proposals for the new Building College campus when they meet next Thursday. It’s only a pre-application presentation to the city’s main planning panel, so there’ll be no decisions taken.
According to a report prepared for the meeting, the Building College wants to merge three of its sites into one at the new facilities on part of the old Yorkshire Chemicals site at Black Bull St.
It’s a bit of a surprise, as plans to build a data centre on the land were approved as recently as January this year, but landowners Yorkshire Design Group and data centre operator AQL say they’re now looking at another potential site “in the vicinity”.
Is there a development/regeneration theory that goes: if you create a critical mass of educational facilities, the family housing will follow (there’s certainly space for it), and new life will be breathed into area?
One thing’s for sure. The prospect of greater footfall will be music to the ears of Allied London as it finalises its plans to boost the ailing fortunes of nearby New Dock (Clarence Dock as was).