Leeds city centre: £200,000 for Victoria Gardens revamp

Plans have been revealed for the refurbishment of one of the best known public spaces in Leeds city centre.

Environmental charity Groundwork Leeds wants to make a number of changes to Victoria Gardens, the paved area on the Headrow in front of Leeds Central Library, Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute.

And although the site is owned by the city council, Groundwork Leeds says the £200,000 cost of the revamp will be met using sponsorship from Marks & Spencer.

According to a newly-released council report on the charity's application for planning permission for the scheme, proposals include:

  • The replacement of damaged Yorkstone surfacing;
  • New seating, bins and information panels;
  • Repairs and clean-up work for the art gallery steps;
  • Planting 26 London plane trees as well as snowdrop and crocus bulbs in the site's existing stone containers;
  • The installation of dozens of uplighters to illuminate the new trees.

The area's war memorials would be unaffected by the refurbishment scheme, which would be carried out using as much recycled and locally-sourced material as possible.

Groundwork Leeds's executive director, Adrian Curtis, said: "Victoria Gardens is an important and popular site and we are really pleased to be working with M&S... to create an improved community space.

"Doing this in a way that promotes sustainability is a particularly exciting challenge."

Council officers have recommended that the planning application be approved.

In the report on the application, they say: "The proposed refurbishment of this important, but tired, civic space will... provide an area that can be enjoyed and accessed by all."

Councillors are due to discuss the recommendations of their officers at a meeting at Leeds Civic Hall next Thursday.

Victoria Gardens came into being after the demolition of a cluster of Victorian buildings on the site in the 1930s.

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