Kirkstall Brewery residences: Planning for care leavers and homeless families accommodation submitted

The former Kirkstall Brewery buildings.

Empty student accommodation at the Kirkstall Brewery site could be transformed into accommodation for care leavers and homeless families, if a planning application is approved.

As previously reported by WLD, council chiefs have agreed to lease four blocks of currently vacant student residences at the former Kirkstall Brewery site, off Broad Lane, to provide temporary accommodation for young adult care leavers currently in education or training and homeless families.

Plans have this week been submitted to change of use of Abbey House, Walker House, Musgrave House, Canal House, and The Maltings residences at Kirkstall Brewery Residences from student accommodation for a temporary period of ten years. The four buildings currently provide 242 bedrooms.

A planning statement submitted with the application states: “Leeds is experiencing high demand for homelessness assistance accepting duties to assist approximately 1,200 households every quarter.

“The three main causes for homelessness in the city are households required to leave living arrangements with family or friends, an end of a private sector tenancy, and domestic abuse. Leeds has had a strong prevention model and is recognised nationally for its performance, but this model is now strained against the national backdrop of the housing crisis, cost of living crisis, utility cost increase and availability of affordable accommodation. A large number of landlords have sought to retire.”

The report added that there is a long wait time on the highest priority for social housing in Leeds, with the turnover of stock reducing, and stock numbers reducing due to right to buy sales. It says private sector rents have increased over 9% year on year.

Three main cohorts will be accommodated at the building, including:

  • Care leavers who are in full time education or training (including apprenticeships) and are over 18 years old.
  • Care leavers who are in employment or seeking employment, and are over 18.
  • Families being re-accommodated from temporary housing.

The cash-strapped council says its net savings due to the scheme are expected to be £1.5m in 24/25 and £2.2m in 25/26.

The plans can be viewed in full here.

The brewery complex was originally closed in 1983, bringing to an end a 150-year tradition of brewing in the buildings. The site stood empty and unused until it the late 1990s when it became Kirkstall Brewery Student Village, part of Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds Beckett University, as it’s now known). The conversion was carried out by Bowman Riley Architects.

The complex had been put up for sale in 2021. It features 828 student beds across 16 buildings, but its occupancy has steadily decreased as more students make use of city centre accommodation.


  1. I wonder what will happen with Kirkstall Brewery, ultimately.
    It seemed a great idea, converting it to student accommodation, there are varied shopping facilities on the doorstep, a leisure centre, and good bus services to the centre. Judging by the number of students seen in the surrounding area it seemed to be very well utilised, and was a good use for such a large complex. But we now see plans being passed for more and more student accommodation in the centre and elsewhere, which I’m not sure is such a good thing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.