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Leeds historic Tower Works site gets the go ahead for £80m regeneration

Tower Works Leeds
Leeds planning chiefs have given the green light for a regeneration project at the historic Tower Works site in Holbeck.

Founded in 1864 by T.R. Harding, the Tower Works factory originally manufactured steel pins for carding and combing in the textile industry. The site was extended in 1899 by Harding’s son, Colonel Thomas Harding and the factory’s unique architectural style was a direct result of the Harding’s love of Italian architecture and art. The most striking feature of the factory is its three towers which give Tower Works its name and all three towers are now listed structures. The largest and most ornate tower is based on Giotto’s Campanile in Florence and the smaller tower is styled after the Torre dei Lamberti in Verona. The third plain tower, built as part of Harding’s final phase of expansion in 1919, is thought to be a representation of a Tuscan tower house.

The Giotto Tower included a filter ventilation system designed to remove excess dust from the factory and was way ahead of its time in terms of minimising pollution from the steel works.

The factory finally closed its doors in 1978 and the sites listed buildings, including the Engine House on Globe Road, and the three ornate Italian Towers, are being preserved as part of the redevelopment.

The project covers almost three acres of brownfield land in the Holbeck Conservation Area and will see ten new buildings constructed, including 11,800 square metres of office space, 160 residential units and a number of new town houses. The project is also to feature a large public space and improvements to the nearby canal towpath to encourage pedestrians to visit.

Councillor James McKenna, chair of the city plans panel, said: “We are pleased to see plans to regenerate this historic part of Leeds moving forward. The redevelopment of the Tower Works site will create a dynamic new hub for businesses, residents, visitors and shoppers which will be a cornerstone in the regeneration of the whole area. Above all it is important to us to see this site protected and preserved as well as securing its future and maximising its enormous potential.”

The Tower Works site is a key link between the city centre and the ambitious Holbeck Urban Village (HUV) project which is a key element in the Leeds South Bank Programme. The project will see the council work alongside other public bodies, the private sector and voluntary organisations to complete one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration schemes.

The Homes and Communities Agency selected Carillion as the primary contractor and work is expected to start in June of this year with an anticipated completion date of 2020.

We think this is a fantastic project here at ABi. The Tower Works buildings are one of Leeds’ lesser known architectural triumphs and to see them preserved as part of this project is great news. The development of this area and the Holbeck Urban Village project is really exciting and one of the most ambitious regeneration projects across the whole of Europe.

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