April Fool: New lease of life planned for Leeds Kirkstall Abbey

This morning we ran an April Fool story stating that Kirkstall Abbey could be rebuilt as a conference centre and ice rink - and readers had a ball.

Claiming that the 11th century monastery would be reconstucted as a “postmodern” venture, we suggested that the ice rink would be a year-round attraction.

Stuart Gledhill wrote on our Facebook page “certainly got me chuckling this morning” while Helen Gibson Davies said “very funny April fools”.

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Mick Neale joked that he had heard the whole scheme was actually going to be a bargain store while Liam O’Reilly claimed “King Henry VIII just phoned me and he is not happy about this”.

News editor Mark Casci said: “You can’t pull the wool over our readers’ eyes.

“It was great to see such a fantastic response to our spoof.”


FOR centuries it has stood as a monument to Leeds’s past, with its dramatic ruins having been the inspiration for paintings by the likes of JMW Turner.

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However, Kirkstall Abbey could now be set for a new lease of life thanks to a bold proposal to rebuild the 11th century monastery.

A construction company from the region wants to restore the abbey to its former glory with formal proposals due to be submitted to planning chiefs this week.

Developers YP Construction want to transform the ruins of the abbey into a dramatic mixed-use scheme, comprising a conference centre, a cultural hub, an ice rink and luxury flats.

The firm’s chief executive Mr S Illy, told The Yorkshire Post: “We want to create a post modern utopia in the heart of Leeds.

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“We will be respecting the area’s heritage and offering a discount to any monks or nuns who may wish to invest in property here.

“The ice rink will complement the rest of the site wonderfully and will be a year-round fixture thanks to pioneering technology.

“We are working with the same company which is build giant fans used to cool football stadiums for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. It is really simple to achieve; we just reverse the process to keep the ice at the correct temperature.

“I know some people will see it as a controversial plan but I am very confident we can preserve Kirkstall Abbey’s history whilst offering a modern new development for the city.

“If it all goes ahead we may look to Rievaulx next.”

Local residents are invited to a consultation meeting at 3am on Sunday.