Controversial Leeds pub plan backed by inspector

Protestors outside the Elinor Lupton Centre in 2014. Picture by Simon Hulme

Protestors outside the Elinor Lupton Centre in 2014. Picture by Simon Hulme

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A controversial plan to turn Headingley’s historic Elinor Lupton Centre into a pub is on the cards after an inspector overturned a rejection to the idea.

JD Wetherspoon has persisted in its efforts to transform the Grade II listed former Leeds Girls High School concert hall, on Headingley Lane, which has been empty since 2010.

The proposal was originally rejected by the South and West Plans Panel in October 2015 because it was thought noise made by those coming and going would disturb local residents.

But planning inspector Philip Asquith recently granted an appeal made by the pub chain.

He said: “I am satisfied that the proposed development, whilst likely to increase activity within the immediate area, would not result in such a level of noise and disturbance that the living conditions of nearby residential occupiers would be unacceptably harmed.”

Councillors on the panel will meet to formally note the appeal decision at Civic Hall from 1.30pm on Thursday.

Spokesman for the pub chain Eddie Gershon said: “We have enjoyed great success in the region and are confident that a Wetherspoon pub in Headingley will be welcomed and be a good addition to the city.”

The company’s interest in the site dates back to 2007, but campaigners were disappointed that another pub was proposed for the area.

According to planning documents the building was originally designed for the First Church of Christ Scientist by local architect William Peel Schofield. Leeds Girls High School took ownership 1986, after which it was renamed the Elinor Lupton Centre and the auditorium started to be used as a theatre and concert hall.

Plans for the pub include a new balcony, a garden seating area and refurbishment of the main auditorium, entrance lobby and other rooms.

However, JD Wetherspoon still needs to obtain a licence for the premises.

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