Leeds, cloth hall
CGI o the transformed First White Cloth Hall. Photograph: Rushbond website.
Nick Hill

Plans to transform ‘historic’ Leeds landmark building set to go for approval

Leeds City Council planning chiefs are set to receive plans to restore one of the oldest buildings in the city.

The Grade II-listed First White Cloth Hall, a former cloth market which dates from the 18th century, has fallen into disrepair, with the council’s regeneration and conservation teams working with owners and developers for almost a decade to protect and preserve it.

Now plans to refurbish the building on Lower Kirkgate are set to go before the City Plans Panel on Thursday, recommended for approval.

The project by developers Rushbond Group, which recently acquired the building, would see the hall’s west wing restored, a new covered courtyard with atrium built and a new shopfront put in place.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “The First White Cloth Hall was a key part of one of the most important chapters in the story of Leeds, when the city began to establish itself as a cornerstone of the textile trade and a global industrial powerhouse.

“It’s very unfortunate that this once impressive building has fallen into the dilapidated state we see it in today, but finally, after a great deal of hard work by our regeneration team, we are now on the verge of seeing it brought back into use as a bright, thriving contemporary hub which will be a focal point for this historic part of Leeds.”

The First White Cloth Hall was listed by English Heritage in 1983 following its ‘rediscovery’ as the earliest surviving cloth hall and in recognition of its historic importance to the economic history of the region.

Members of the City Plans Panel are recommended to delegate the plans for the First White Cloth Hall for approval by the chief planning officer.

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