Fresh ‘co-living’ plans at Burley Library building to be discussed by councillors

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

Early plans to turn the Grade II Listed former Burley Library building into a co-living scheme with communal facilities will be discussed by councillors next week.

Applicant Parklane Group wants to retain and refurbish the historic library building by creating a co-working hub and seven duplex co-living units, with a six-storey extension to the rear to create 71 co-living units and communal living space.

A report to be considered by councillors on the south and west plans panel says residents would live in studios and that co-living is an emerging product within the housing market which is targeted at the recent graduate market.

This includes consultancy-type workers who only need to be in a particular location for a few months, key workers who work in city centres, and also recent incomers to cities who don’t necessarily want to rent on their own or know anyone to house share with.

Councillors will provide a steer for planning officers and the applicant on how the proposals should be developed. No final decision on the scheme will be made next week.

In 2019 Leeds City Council approved plans by Parklane Properties to turn the building into work hub office accommodation for young professionals, and a five-storey extension containing 60 one-bedroom and studio flats built behind it.

A report to be considered by councillors next Thursday says: “The listed library building was designed to be at the heart of the design proposal and this remains exactly the same in the current proposal as that previously approved.

“The prominence of the original building on the streetscape remains as approved and there are virtually no significant changes to height, massing, finishes or fenestrations.

“The proposal seeks to retain all the historic elements of the scheme as previously approved. This means the library largely serves as a co-working space as previously approved. The proposal involves restoring and refurbishing the historic library building which will create a distinctive create a historic point of interest in the streetscape.”

Civic watchdog Leeds Civic Trust supported the principle and broad aims of the scheme as presented in a previous application and note that the latest proposal is little changed from the previous scheme – we are particularly keen to see listed Burley Library building back into use. In this regard, our position remains unchanged.

The documents to be considered by councillors can be viewed in full here.


The building is classed as ‘listed’, which marks and celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the planning system so it can be protected for future generations.

Burley Branch Library was designed by Gilbert Burdett Howcroft of Uppermill and was opened on 15 June 1926 by Alderman Sir Percy Jackson, Chairman of the West Riding Education Committee, and a trustee of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust.

The library cost £8,338 to build, with most of the funding coming from the Carnegie Trust and the rest from Leeds Council.

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