Kirkstall: Community hub at Abbey Mills moves closer


Campaigners are hoping a bid to take historic Abbey Mills into community ownership has moved a step closer.

Abbey Mills dates back to the 19th century but owners Leeds City Council are struggling to maintain the Grade II Listed building, which could be at least partially transformed into flats.

The council is looking to dispose of the former mill complex, which is on the city’s buildings at risk register, on a long leasehold.

A meeting between representatives of Kirkstall Valley Development Trust and senior council officers saw the Council reveal they will complete an exercise to see if there is any developer interest in Abbey Mills by December 15.

They are dividing the site into two.

Lot 1 – the Abbey Road block (pictured above)
Lot 2 – the rest of the site.

Developers will be asked if they are prepared to develop Lot 2 alone or are just interested in the whole site. They will be invited to discuss development with the Trust.

Chris Hill, from KVDT, said:

Officers understand our need for speed and have committed to a decision on the Heads of Terms of a lease on the Abbey Road block early in the New Year. So while no promises have been made, the direction we need to travel is clear.

“Meantime, Bauman Lyons architects have started working up the scheme for the Abbey Road block and we will be booking three days in which the block will be open for members to visit as well as surveyors etc.

“There will be a second consultation once the architects have a sketch of how the block might look to enable members to come forward with ideas and changes.

“The hope is that early in the New Year we have both a plan and agreement to lease that we can then seek grant funding on.”

As previously reported by The Dispatch, the Kirkstall Valley Development Trust (KVDT) wants to take the complex into community ownership, with a mixed use of work, community facilities and flats proposed.

Leeds City Council has owned the site since 1965.

Social enterprise team bids for agricultural land

A team made up of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Growing Better, KVDT, Feed Leeds and University of Leeds Student Union will be bidding to take on the council lease of the agricultural land at Burley Mills off Kirkstall Road (pictured).

Following a meeting with council officers, KVDT says it will be developing a business plan in discussion with interested parties like the Probation Service, working out who could be the single leaseholder and how accountability could be built in to the management structure.

The intention would be to have several growing projects and a high level of public involvement on the site.

If you have any projects you are keen to develop,  email and / or Rob Moores –






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