Public realm development transforms space at key city centre location

More than £1m worth of new public realm has been created outside the landmark Corn Exchange building, in Leeds city centre.

The pedestrianised open space was developed over the last year by Leeds City Council and its partners.

Works were carried out in tandem with a major package of Connecting Leeds highways improvements, which form part of the £173.5m Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme.

A celebration event has been staged to mark the completion of both the £1.2m public realm scheme and the wider £25m highways improvements project.

The event was funded by the council and Corn Exchange owner Rushbond plc, with added organisational support coming from contractor John Sisk & Son Ltd.

Jonathan Maud, managing director of Rushbond, said: “The launch of this new public space marks the next chapter for the Corn Exchange. This public realm transformation will offer a new place for everyone to enjoy for years to come.”

Peter Dawson, contract manager for Sisk, said: “We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Leeds City Council and everyone else involved in the scheme for the opportunity to deliver these improvements in Leeds city centre.”

Nearly 19,000 sq ft of public realm has been created outside the Corn Exchange by upgrading two existing pedestrian areas and removing the stretch of Call Lane that runs between New Market Street and Crown Street.

Funding for work was supplied by the council, Rushbond and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, with the latter’s share coming through the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

The highways improvements, meanwhile, have been led by the council’s Connecting Leeds team and have focused on prioritising buses, pedestrians and cyclists while aiming to reduce congestion in the city centre.

Wider pavements, safer cycleways, enhanced bus priority measures and new facilities for bus users now all form part of the streetscape in an area known as the Corn Exchange Gateway. This includes roads such as Call Lane, Bridge End, Lower Briggate, New Market Street, Kirkgate and Duncan Street as well as sections of Boar Lane and Vicar Lane.

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