The issue of conservation on the proposed development of the Granary Wharf Building
The regeneration specialist of the waterside ISI proposed a scheme that encompasses the commercial, retail, residential and leisure in one of the Leeds’s best and beloved however under used quarters. The site has suffered recently from the lack of use as it is bordered by Leeds railway station, the waterways of the Rive of Aire and the Holbeck Village along with the Leeds/Liverpool Canal. It has also failed to enhance its potentials as being the city centre on the waterfront. The scheme proposed on the two and a half acre site consists of three buildings that are set within a waterside public environment. Extended to around 7,400 sq/m making 70 percent of the total site this major new public space is being centred on the historic graving docks.
According to the application proposed there are three building that will be providing 213 apartments in two of the blocks, and office space will be provided in the final building. A further 32, 00 square feet of commercial and leisure retail will retain and complement the existing retail and bars units within the arches in the ground flow space of the three new buildings. These buildings, as hoped by the developers will add the activity and vibrancy to the public square and water space. This scheme will work as a connection between the Holbeck and the City Centre with the introduction of the several new footbridges that are across the canal and River Aire (Craig, Diprose & Seaborne, 2009).
Besides all these qualities the heritage experts and conservationists are against this plan as it is believed that the construction of these buildings will result in destroying the heritage of the city by ruining the heart of Leeds’s waterfront. However, the developers ensure that the historic graving docks will be restored and will become the focal point of all festivals and family days with the main area of the public kingdom. Nevertheless, the proposed scheme of the building development in 3 blocks up to the maximum height of 15 storeys with a mix of office, commercial and leisure use, along with an option of 213 flats, car parking and 2 bridges, there are still some conventional issues that cannot be neglected. These issues include (TranspoGroup, 2012):
- over development of the site
- The proposal is oppressive as it presents no relationship to the other buildings that are already present or to the waterfront.
- The level of public space on the site is not enough
- There is no relationship of the development to adjoining buildings
- The building does not reflect the historical characters of the site
- Does not open up to the arches and creates special place.
- Not enough pedestrian access near the building
- The area under the arches should be used potentially and greater emphasis is required on that particular area instead of turning it into car parking
- Lack of connectivity of the scheme to the city
- Minimal car parking on the site to explore the possibility of car club.
Craig, C., Diprose, G. and Seaborne, M. (2009), London’s Changing Riverscape: Panoramas From London Bridge to Greenwich, UK: frances lincoln ltd
TranspoGroup (2012), Granary Access Transportation Alternatives Study, City of Bellingham, http://www.cob.org/documents/planning/newwhatcom/2012-08-granary-access-study-report.pdf [Accessed on 15th November 2012]