Councillors to decide former Burley Library co-living space plans

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An artist's impression showing how the co-living space above Burley Library may look.

By Connor Briggs

Councillors in Leeds are set to decide proposed plans to turn Grade II listed Burley Library into a six-storey co-living space.

The vote will take place on Thursday 11 May at Leeds Civic Hall as part of the South and West plans panel – and it could see the first co-living space granted in Leeds.

The plans propose to convert the former library into a workspace for both residents of the space as well as the public, with 71 apartments aimed at young professionals created at the site.

In previous council meetings, the proposed pricing of the facilities, which ranged from £295 to £350 a week was criticised. 

The proposal was presented by Parklane Group Ltd, which has experience in student and aparthotel developments. Planning permission was granted in 2019 for the redevelopment of the library for co-working spaces and 60 C3 residential apartments. 

Burley library closed
The former Burley Branch Library. Copyright Adrian Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The application that will be voted on is an amendment to the original proposal, with it changing to become co-living units aimed at graduates and corporate workers. 

In their report published this week, council planning officers said that as well as bringing a listed building back into use, a proposed six-storey extension at the back of the venue, “is also considered to be high quality and sympathetic to its setting.”

They added: “The building will sit comfortably to the rear of the former library building without overly dominating the setting of this building.

“Also weighing in favour of the development is the creation of 78 residential units on a brownfield site located within the main urban area with excellent public transport links, close to public transport public services, leisure and employment opportunities.”

The concept of co-living spaces has been recently seen in London, and the plans would be the first in Leeds. In response, Leeds City Council drafted a ‘Technical Planning Guidance on Co-Living’ document.  

An artist’s impression showing how a proposed co-living space at Burley Library may appear.

The council report goes on to say: “In assessing the case on its own merits against the existing planning policy and guidance, it is considered that the benefits of the development outweigh any conflict with planning policy.

“As such, it is recommended that, subject to conditions and the completion of S106 agreement, planning permission and the associated listed building consent is granted.” 

The property has been vacant for three years, with it originally opening as a library in 1926. 

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