Leeds: Kirkstall Abbey wants permission to hold more events

The 900-year-old Abbey could soon have more company.
The 900-year-old Abbey could soon have more company.
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Kirkstall Abbey could soon become one of Leeds’s premier event spaces – but some locals worry the plans will turn the 900-year-old monastery into a “theme park”.

An application from owners Leeds City Council for a new events and alcohol licence for the Abbey will go before decision-makers next week.

But not everyone is happy with the proposals, with some living nearby calling the plans a “nightmare”.

According to a report going before the city’s licensing sub-committee, it would allow for the performance of plays, recorded music, live music, dance and the exhibition of films, every day from 7am to 11pm.

There would also be an alcohol licence from 11am-midnight every day.

The site currently plays host to the Kirkstall Festival, along with other children’s events, but the new plans are expected to generate more activities in the area.

But not everyone is happy with the plans.

West Yorkshire Police had originally said there was not enough information included in the application about how antisocial behaviour would be avoided. It suggested the site needed extra CCTV and a more detailed plan on how it would prevent crime and disorder at events.

The council responded saying they would meet these requirements.

But some local residents were still against the plans. One wrote: “I was horrified to read of the planned alteration being proposed to the currently beautiful and peaceful abbey.

“What is being proposed is truly a nightmare – almost turning the abbey into a theme park.”

The abbey was founded in 1152 by Cisterian monks, who are thought to have brewed ale on the site until the monastery’s dissolution by Henry VIII in 1538.

Another complained about events already being held at the abbey, adding: “We cannot have doors or windows open and can still hear them, nor can we sit peacefully in the garden. As this type of event only occurs once or twice a year we put up with it but for it to happen on a more regular basis will be unbearable.

“Drunks shouting and screaming as they walk home and litter dropping – plus, on one occasion we caught someone urinating against the hedge in our drive, causing stains, who then got into the car at the side of the drive.”

A decision will be made on the application at the council’s planning sub-committee on Tuesday August 21 at 10am.