A number of new leases at empty shops and businesses in Armley have been signed in the past three months amid plans for a pocket park performance space and the possible introduction of ‘welcome ambassadors’ onto Town Street.
A report to members of the Inner West Community Committee said that new businesses included a Persian Restaurant and plans for flats at the former Yorkshire Bank.
Leeds City Council neighbourhood centres co-ordinator Peter Mudge said several new leases had been signed and new businesses opening or about to open.
These included the former Coral bookies (a café and bakery), former Card Factory (Armley Food Store), former HSBC (Persian Restaurant/Cafe) and former Boots shop (future use not yet announced).
The former Yorkshire Bank will be converted to flats after earlier proposals for shops on the ground floor fell through. The former Love & Light tearoom will become a barbecue restaurant and two council shops on Gelderd Road are now in use by Howarth Foundation’s Little Owls project.
Mr Mudge reported flats are now being built near Town Street, on Hall Road, which will improve the appearance of that area, and the former Loony Bin shop at 100 Town Street has now been sold by the council. Mr Mudge added:
“A meeting is being held with the owner of the dilapidated former clinic site in the hope that differences can be resolved so that this eyesore and base of anti-social behaviour can at last be renovated.”
Pocket park and performance area
A plan is progressing to see the former public toilets on Theaker Lane, which are currently used as a place to throw litter, turned into a pocket park and outdoor performance area. Mr Mudge added:
“The area will be locked every evening and the plan is to also include plants on the sides to make it an attractive oasis. Funding for this is being investigated.”
The government has made available Welcome Back to High Streets funding and
discussions are under way on whether this can help raise the image of Armley town
centre in order to attract more shoppers through provision of “Welcome” Ambassadors, making visitors feel safe and secure and providing a reassuring presence to help lift the negativity prevalent in publicity of the area.
The detail of exactly what could be possible is being discussed with colleagues in Armley Action Team and discussions are ongoing.
The reports says that after the first lockdown, street drinking ‘returned in a big way’ on Town Street, along with begging and drug dealing.
Police have reduced these, but there is national concern areas suffering after the first lockdown may do so again in the coming months. Signs have been placed at four locations in a new trial for Leeds and looks to make dealers and buyers feel uneasy in those areas.