Green light for first phase of transformation of Leeds' Quarry Hill

AMBITIOUS plans for a £300m redevelopment in Leeds have moved a step forward.

An artist's impression of the SOYO scheme
An artist's impression of the SOYO scheme

Wetherby-based firm Caddick Developments will oversee the so-called SOYO (South Of YOrk Road) regeneration scheme that aims to transform the Quarry Hill area of the city by building new homes, a boutique spa hotel, public spaces, offices and student accommodation.

Now detailed planning permission has been granted for the first phase of the scheme, two 16-storey blocks containing 515 apartments for rent. Named New York Square after nearby New York Road, it will also include a range of on-site facilities for tenants, including a cycle café, communal lounges, roof terraces and a fitness centre. Construction will begin later this year.

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Director Johnny Caddick said he hoped the development would “help raise the bar locally for renters”.

He said: “Being right on the doorstep of major cultural institutions, at the heart of a brand new neighbourhood and on the cutting edge of the latest lifestyle trends, New York Square at SOYO will be one of the best places to live in Leeds.”

Cultural leaders in the city have broadly welcomed the redevelopment plan.

The firm had already announced a five-year cultural partnership with the nearby West Yorkshire Playhouse, which is itself about to undergo a £14m facelift.

They, along with Leeds City College and other organisations, are linking up to create a new neighbourhood inspired by New York’s East Village and San Francisco’s SoMa district.

Quarry Hill has a colourful history and snippets include the presence of a Roman fort in 122AD, isolation of bubonic plague victims in the 17th century and tales about the legend of Mary Bateman - hanged in 1809 for her alleged powers of witchcraft.

The Quarry Hill flats were demolished in 1978 and the site is currently a mixture of green space and car parking.