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Tower Works in Leeds

Introduction

Work has now begun on the redevelopment of the landmark Tower Works site in Holbeck Urban Village in Leeds. The project will open up further opportunities for investors, businesses and residents.

Summary

Following funding approval from the government for the redevelopment of the landmark Tower Works site in Holbeck Urban Village, work has started on the site as part of Yorkshire Forward’s investment of £19.8m.

The history of Tower Works

The factory was founded by T.R. Harding to make steel pins for carding and combing in the textile industry, and the original buildings, by Thomas Shaw, were erected in 1864-6. The factory’s design was heavily influenced by his love for Italian architecture and art.

The most notable features of Tower Works are the three towers that give it its name and served as chimneys for the gill-pin factory. The largest and most ornate tower is based on the iconic Giotto campanile (bell tower) in Florence. The smaller ornate tower is based on the Lamberti Tower in Verona. A third plain tower, built as part of Harding's final phase of expansion in 1919, is thought to represent a Tuscan tower house. All three are listed structures, the two ornate towers being Grade II * and the plain tower Grade II.

After sustaining damage in World War II when neighbouring buildings were bombed during the air raids on Leeds city railway station, the factory was never repaired and ceased to trade in 1981 after almost 120 years of operating on the site and was acquired by Yorkshire Forward in 2005.

What’s happening in Holbeck?

The works are part of a wider initiative to connect Holbeck Urban Village and the surrounding communities with the city centre, including the ‘Light' Neville Street project, which Yorkshire Forward and Leeds City Council are co-funding. The project will open up further opportunities for investors, businesses and residents alike, connecting through to the Round Foundry and Marshall's Mill.

What does the current work entail?

The first phase of work involves strategic clearance and demolition of the area, and the enhancement of pedestrian links between Holbeck Urban Village and the city centre.

What about the next phase?

Work will on the refurbishment of the listed buildings on the site will commence shortly. This will create office accommodation to complement the award-winning Round Foundry Media Centre, currently run by Yorkshire Forward.

Is there any private-sector funding?

These early works will enable future phases of redevelopment to be presented to the market in order to attract private-sector investment. By undertaking this first phase of development, Yorkshire Forward is creating a first class opportunity for private investment to support the delivery of future phases of the scheme.
 

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