Green light for 618 apartments at former Arla Foods site

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An artist's impression of the new Kirkstall Road development

By David Spereall, local democracy reporter

A former dairy site which has been empty for nearly 20 years will be converted into a new £140 million development with more than 600 flats.

The old Arla Foods building has diminished into a graffiti-laden eyesore on Kirkstall Road in Leeds since it was vacated by the company in 2004.

Now developers Glenbrook have been given the go-ahead to convert the site into housing by a city council planning committee on Thursday.

A total of 618 residential properties will be created, with monthly rental costs for tenants likely to be between £900 and £1,100, Glenbrook told Thursday’s meeting.

An artist’s impression of the new development.

A new public and open realm space will also be created for the benefit of residents.

The proposals were initially deferred by councillors in the autumn after they argued there was not enough affordable housing and three-bed units within the scheme.

As a result, the developers revised the plans to ensure 31 properties within the scheme will be classed as affordable.

But just 10 per cent of the development will consist of three-bed flats, after Glenbrook said it was unviable to increase that number any further. The rest will be one and two-bed properties.

Councillors voted in favour of the plans, with several commenting that the scheme been greatly improved from its original form.

An artist\s impression showing how the redeveloped site would look. Picture from Leeds City Council/YouTube

Little London and Woodhouse councillor Kayleigh Brooks, in whose ward the development sits, expressed unhappiness about the expected rental prices, however.

She said: “I agree that this development is much improved.

“I have to say as a ward member, I do find it incredibly frustrating to sit on plans panels where the type of housing that comes forward is often very expensive.

“I appreciate the development will be built to a very high standard, but it’s still very expensive for local people who are maybe living in overcrowded housing.”

Addressing the developer directly, she added: “I’m still a little bit disappointed in this even though I know you’ve done lots with it.”

The old Arla Foods site on Kirkstall Road. Picture from Google Maps (July 2022)

Speaking after the meeting, Glenbrook’s senior development manager Daniel Roberts said “We identified this prominent former brownfield site as having huge potential and achieving planning will enable us to deliver a highly sustainable scheme which will act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of Kirkstall Road. 

“With planning now secured, we will be looking to commence work on site later this year.”

Follow WLD‘s ongoing coverage of the future of the Arla Foods site here.

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