The new £40 million Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park may have only opened on Friday but it’s already generating its fair share of debate and discussion.
Opened by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, the shops already open include an M&S Foodhall, JD Sports, Home Bargains, Outfit and Costa. A Pets at Home is set to open this week and more shops are due to open during coming weeks and months.
The latest chains to sign up at the park include Smyths Toy Superstore and Specsavers, which will both open in early 2016.
West Leeds Dispatch’s Paula Hare went for a recce on Saturday afternoon – here’s what she’s discovered so far:
1. Kirkstall traffic problems
We all know traffic congestion in that part of Kirkstall is a big problem. The new Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park is almost inevitably going to add to those issues no matter how many sets of traffic lights you include there.
— Sim Walker (@Sim_Walker) November 1, 2015
Has anyone else noticed the smell of car fumes is really noticeable in the surrounding area?
2. M&S Foodhall rocks!
By far the best store there – for us at least – was the massive M&S Foodhall. Well stocked with good variety of food stuffs, there are foodhalls and there are M&S … oh, you get the picture! It’s going to be a big draw to the area for some.
3. Park has opened too early?
Not all the shops were open – some, like Pets at Home, were busy getting ready for business this week. Others are some months away from opening and are empty. As first impressions go empty shops are a bit off-putting and it’s impossible to say at this early stage whether the park is going to be a ‘go-to’ destination. We’re not sure we’d rush back until everything’s open to be honest …
4. Could boost Morrisons and Dunnes?
Perhaps the new park could boost Morrisons and Dunnes opposite? Speaking to a worker at Morrisons, she says the store’s been very busy since the new shopping park opened. It’s interesting to see Speccsavers will be moving from their small shop next to Morrisons to bigger premises here, which looks like a vote of cinfidence for Kirkstall. Perhaps the whole area’s much more of a shopping draw for people across West Leeds now? Plans for a new Matalan will also act as a draw.
5. Too early to judge fully – but more variety needed
I wish the new park well. Will it become a big draw for people in west Leeds and beyond? Will traffic congestion put people off? Time will tell …
At first glance though, with exception of M&S it just seems a bit ‘samey’ to the park up the A65 in Guiseley …
When will you go? Check out the Dispatch’s fun poll. Did you like the new centre? Have your say in the conversation below.