The area around the landmark Leeds Corn Exchange has undergone an improvement project, and the finishing touches are being put in place with some resurfacing works. News Anyway reports that the project is due to be completed by the end of spring, weather permitting. When it is complete, the area will be partly pedestrianised,

The work will take place overnight to minimise disruption, with roads in the area closed to general traffic between 8pm and 5am. The renovations aim to the make the area more pedestrian and cycle friendly, with new cycle tracks and pedestrian crossings being installed, and pavements widened.

Traffic will be partially rerouted, and priority given to buses, with extra bus stop signage provided. Elsewhere, excess street clutter will be removed, and more greenery introduced. It is hoped that some spaces can be used for outdoor dining.

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for infrastructure and climate said: “It’s exciting to see the final resurfacing works happening on this scheme. It gives these historic streets and buildings the surroundings it deserves whilst increasing opportunities for active travel and providing extra public space in the city centre.”

The works are part of the wider Connecting Leeds project, which is an ambitious scheme to reduce car dependence, and develop better park and ride, cycling, and public transport links. The aims are aligned with the Leeds City Region economic plan, and the Clean Air Leeds programme.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire said: “The Corn Exchange is a real gem and is a beacon of culture and creativity, so it’s fantastic to see these changes, which will make the historic landmark more welcoming to the people of Leeds and visitors from far and wide.” 

She added: “Improving cycling, walking and public transport provisions form a key part of my pledge to tackle the climate emergency, so I’m also delighted that we are part of this scheme that will see more green spaces and provisions for active travel.” 

Leeds Corn Exchange is one of the city’s most recognisable buildings, which was built in 1863 for corn traders. The Grade I listed building, with a distinctive oval shape and domed roof, was designed by architect Cuthbert Brodrick, who was from nearby Hull. He was influenced by Parisian commercial buildings, and also designed Leeds town hall.

The domed glass roof was installed to provide good light to the trading floor, to help the traders assess the quality of the grain. Offices were added on a mezzanine level around the central floor. The grand building helped to put Leeds on the map as one of the principal corn markets for the north of England.

By the 1960s, the corn trade had declined, and by the 1980s, there were few occupants and the future of the building came under question. Fortunately, by 1990 it had been transformed into a high-end shopping centre. It is hoped that in the future, a pavilion area to host outdoor functions, shops and cafes can be added.


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