In 1973, the Leeds Civic Trust published a report 'Leeds-upon-Aire', with proposals for a complete renewal of the waterfront area with new living accommodation, and leisure and entertainment facilities. It took another twelve years before anything was done, and people began to realise that the waterfront might become a desirable area to live and work in, and not a neglected and dirty place to be avoided. In 1985 Leeds City Council produced a plan of action for the regeneration of the waterfront and in 1988 the Leeds Development Corporation was formed to oversee the planning of the waterfront. Grants were made available to potential investors, and partnerships between the public and private sectors were set up. Development companies began to invest in the area, and over the past eighteen years the waterfront has been substantially redeveloped, with further development planned for the future. Often old warehouses and docks have been converted to new uses, with the shell of the original building remaining. In other cases new buildings have been put up on derelict sites. Some of the different kinds of development that have taken place on the waterfront are given below.
The Dark Arches is now part of Granary Wharf, with shops and restaurants, weekend markets and street entertainers.
The old Leeds and Liverpool Canal warehouse has been refurbished, and is now offices, with a smart restaurant on the ground floor. An old warehouse built in the 1930s has been converted to offices for architects and designers in the Design Innovation Centre. (1988). In 1988 Asda built their new headquarters just south of the river near the Victoria Bridge. It stands on the site of the old Leeds Quaker Meeting House.
Housing, hotels and restaurants.
Along the Calls many of the old warehouses and scrapyards have been replaced by housing developments, hotels and restaurants.
No. 46 the Calls. In 1987 Low cost flats were built at Chandler's Wharf. The original building was a corn chandlers warehouse built in 1876 by William Turton.
No. 48-52 the Calls. Next to the Chandlers is Langton's Wharf, another housing development built in 1992.
No. 42, The Calls is now a luxury hotel.
No.32, The Calls. This is now the Aire, a waterside restaurant with flats above. It is the tallest building on the waterfront, and was originally a warehouse built in the early 1800s.
To the South of the river is Victoria Quays, built in the 1980s by Barratts on the site of the Aire and Calder Navigation dock and warehouses. The dock is now planted with water lilies, and has a fountain to aerate the water.
The Centenary footbridge was opened in 1992. It is a suspension bridge, with a single support tower on the southern bank of the river. It was commissioned by the Leeds Development Corporation and designed by Ove Arup and is the first bridge to be built over the river in the city centre for over 100 years.
The Royal Armouries, a museum which houses part of the royal Collection from the Tower of London was opened in 1996, the centrepiece of the redevelopment of the Clarence Dock Area. As well as being a visitor attraction, it is an important international centre for education and study.
For many people the waterway itself is a major leisure attraction, either for a cruise in a traditional narrowboat, or a walk along the towpath, a quiet and pleasant place in the midst of the busy city.
|Click images to enlarge|
Granary Wharf, 1999
ASDA Headquarters, 1999
Design and Innovation Centre, Langton's Wharf and Chandlers Wharf, 1999
Victoria Quays and former Aire and Calder dock, 1999
Royal Armouries, 1999
Centenary Bridge, 1999
Barge at Granary Wharf, 1999