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Leeds City Council approves Corn Exchange plans

Connecting Leeds Exchange © Leeds City Council

Leeds City Council’s executive board has approved the £21.5 million construction plans to transform the Corn Exchange and surrounding area in Leeds.

The work is being carried out as part of the Connecting Leeds programme, which will invest £270 million to the transport network of the city.

According to the council, the area surrounding the Corn Exchange is congested and buses regularly held up and delayed. The scheme aims to address these issues.

The first phase of work, which is set to begin in June, involves Call Lane, New Market Street, Kirkgate, Lower Briggate Duncan Street and parts of Vicar Lane and Boar Lane. The work will include widening pavements, introducing more greenery and improving the public realm.

A further £6.1 million has been secured for phase two works on Meadow Lane to re-prioritise it from a four-lane highway into a two-lane road with cycle ways and walking routes connecting the city via the planned city park. 

The council said this proposal is a "significant development" in its commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The scheme aims to encourage people to move away from private cars and instead walk, cycle and use public transport. The council expects the scheme to reduce travel by 175km in the first year.

All of the work is expected to be completed by winter 2020. 

Lisa Mulherin, executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development at Leeds City Council, explained: ”The enhancements will place the iconic buildings of the Corn Exchange and Kirkgate Market in a more appropriate setting. The bus priority measures and improved walking and cycling routes will improve connectivity services and air quality in the city.

"Like all major schemes, there will be disruption, however Leeds City Council will work closely with the bus companies, other transport providers and business to keep this to a minimum and will work hard to keep the public informed of changes which affect them. 

“We’re currently working on unprecedented investment and change to transform the city centre into a more liveable, better connected and more active environment with better air quality for those who live, work and play in it. While we work to minimise any inconvenience this work will cause, we anticipate the long term benefits will be worth the disruption whilst this change takes place."

Image credit | Leeds City Council