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Kirkstall: Former Leeds City Tramways substation will become flats

18 September 2019

Planning officers have granted permission for a former Leeds City Tramways electrical substation on Abbey Road in Kirkstall to be converted into seven self contained flats, writes Keely Bannister.

The conversion is made up of two one-bedroomed and five two-bedroomed flats.

With the building being located on the busy Abbey Road, highway concerns have caused delays in the planning process – which has taken 11 months to be concluded. Negotiations over off-road car parking were a major sticking point.

Originally applicant Piccadilly Properties planned for nine flats with only four parking spaces provided in an enclosed side yard.

With 11 parking spaces required for nine units, negotiations took place which saw the applicant agree to reduce the number of flats to seven and provide five parking spaces – four in the enclosed side yard and a single space to the frontage of the development made possible through the removal of some steps. 

Numerous highway conditions have been placed on the development that must be adhered to including a car park and servicing management plan being submitted before any work begins and electric vehicle charging points must be installed.

Another discussion point around the development is the historical significance of the building and its prominent position on an unpopulated section of a major road.

In a report granting planning permission, the planning officer wrote:

“The building forms a prominent landmark on this stretch of Abbey Road, which is otherwise relatively unpopulated and mostly wooded.

“It is a handsome, substantial stone building of some age and with an important historical link to the extensive former tramway network in Leeds, which was closed down more than sixty years ago and of which little visible evidence now remains.

“On balance it is considered that this is a good conversion scheme which if sympathetically carried out will preserve the character of this historic landmark building and safeguard its future.”

Built in 1906 from natural stone, the building was used to supply power to the No.4 tram route from Woodside Avenue and Kirkstall Road to the Hawksworth Road terminus.

It was decommissioned in 1948, almost ten years before the end of tram service in Leeds, but retains some of its original features including a pair of double-height doors at the front.

The buulding was previously used as an industrial unit by NJ Metals Gates and Railings.

You can view all of the documents relating to this development here.

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James Hillier says:

This can only be a good thing if done well. Not sure how they are going to get to sleep in there though.