Civic quarter: £40m plans unveiled to build new student development in city

Plans for the £40m redevelopment of a four-acre site in Leeds city centre's Civic Quarter have been submitted to the city council.

Downing, the property group behind student tower block Broadcasting Place, has announced proposals to create a new student development on land formerly owned by Leeds Metropolitan University.

Designed by architects John McAslan + Partners, the scheme will create 568 student bedrooms and 4,500 square foot of retail space across three buildings adjacent to the Inner Ring Road.

The plans include the construction of a new building and the refurbishment of two original university buildings.

A new public square and pedestrian link will be created between Woodhouse Lane and Calverley Street to improve links between the city's universities, Leeds General Infirmary and the city centre.

Improvements are proposed to enhance existing green space by enlarging the parkland setting and "prioritising pedestrian access over vehicles", according to the developers.

Paul Houghton, development director at Downing, said: "Leeds is one of the UK's key university cities with a robust student market and, as we've seen with the success of Broadcasting Place, quality student developments are in high demand.

"We have worked closely with John McAslan + Partners to ensure that the scheme will integrate well into the city centre landscape, while the new pedestrian links will considerably improve permeability in this area of the city."

The site is located opposite Downing's Broadcasting Place student scheme, which is fully let. Last year the 23-storey tower was named Best Tall Building in the World by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

A planning decision is expected in March and, if granted approval, the scheme would completed in September 2012.

Tony Skipper, of architects John McAslan + Partners, said: "We're delighted to be working with Downing on proposals that will provide a new destination and green heart to this area of the city. It's been a much neglected part of the Civic Quarter for too long."