Shopping centre may look to the skies for expansion space

A LEEDS shopping centre could be extended skywards to make space for a large anchor store.

The developers behind Trinity West (currently Leeds Shopping Plaza) are in talks with Leeds Council about plans for a roof extension.

A potential tenant, believed to be a clothes retailer, wants more space to create a large anchor store.

Trinity West forms part of the huge Trinity scheme, which will include 120 units in over one million square foot of space.

A pre-planning application report on the suggestion will be discussed by members of the council's city centre plans panel on Wednesday, January 12.

The report says the proposal relates to the roof level of the southern half of the Leeds Shopping Plaza.

The developer, Land Securities, wants to construct a new retail level on the south end of the roof, which will vary in height between 4.5m and six metres.

The total floorspace provided by the new extension will be 2,500 square metres.

Planning officers with the council have considered the designs for the proposed roof extension and say that the architects have avoided creating an extension that would be "over-dominant and monotonous".

"The architects have worked to try and reduce as much as possible the eaves treatment of the new flat roof," says the council report.

"This achieves the objectives of reducing as much as possible the mass of the extension, helping it to blend into its background and also prevent visual conflict between it and the ribbon (motif) feature which is to remain the dominant element."

Officers believe that the height of the proposed extension means that it is "almost totally masked by the roof of Mill Hill Chapel and therefore will have very little impact on the view of the Chapel from all but the south western corner of City Square (the eight storeys of Exchange House already forming the back-drop to the church from this point in any case)."

Planning officers have concluded that the extension is considered to complement the currently approved shopping scheme and "enhance it rather than dilute or reduce its quality".

Their report adds: "Government advice is to make the best use of land by intensifying the floor space on the land available in existing centres, and as the uses being proposed here are clearly appropriate, the revisions are considered to be in line with that advice."

The proposed roof extension could also mean an improved entranceway to the shopping centre from the City Square area. "This proposal means that this entrance would have to be reconfigured and the intention is to increase it in height to the full, four-storey height of the proposed building and frame it with an extension of the ribbon motif used for the rest of the development."

Officers are proposing that, once a planning application is received, it is determined by officers – rather than a committee of councillors – "given the tight timescales under which delivery of this revision is to be made".

Councillors are being presented with the pre-application report next week following discussions between council officers and project architects.

Trinity Leeds is scheduled to open in the spring of 2013. Next and boutique cinema Everyman have already signed up to the development.

Last month developer Land Securities announced it had agreed with restaurant operator D&D London to operate two restaurants within Trinity Leeds.

The restaurants will occupy two upper floors of a new building next to the main retail complex and will each have outside roof terraces with views towards Grade I listed Holy Trinity Church.

D&D London currently operates restaurants in London, Paris,

Copenhagen, New York and Tokyo.