Transformational plans unveiled for landmark gateway building


Plans have been unveiled for the transformation of the landmark York Road Library building in Richmond Hill, close to Leeds City Centre. A planning application has now been submitted to Leeds City Council for the restoration of the listed building to create a state-of-the-art gym and fitness centre that would be operated by one of the country's leading operators, The Gym Group.

Proposals, prepared by the award-winning Leeds-based property company Rushbond, would see the building restored to form the centrepiece of the project alongside a new contemporarily designed extension.  The development would provide 16,000 square feet of studio space, weight rooms and a full suite of fitness equipment across two levels.

Mark Finch, Director at Rushbond: “This is such a wonderful building, engrained in the hearts of the community having been the local library and swimming baths for so many years. We have shaped a tremendous opportunity to create a sustainable and fitting end-use for the building that can regenerate this key site and bring forward new investment and jobs into the local area. The building's iconic features such as the turret and clock, and a wonderful 'Leeds owl' mosaic, will be restored as part of celebrating the character of this distinctive building. The Gym Group is one of the UK's leading gym operators and we are delighted to be working with them and their team on this exciting venture.”

Burmantofts and Richmond Hill Ward Councillor Ron Grahame: “Myself and my ward colleagues Councillor Asghar Khan and Councillor Denise Ragan are delighted to hear that a use has been proposed for a building which is so very important to the local community. The proposals look very exciting indeed, bringing in important new investment, creating local jobs and providing a facility to encourage healthy living.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said: “This proposal is very interesting to restore the historic York Road Library building, bringing new investment and creating new jobs and supporting our commitment to regeneration in that part of the city. The proposed use for the building is also in keeping with its former use as swimming baths, and if approved these facilities would add to the health and wellbeing offer in Leeds as part of our drive to be the healthiest city in the country.”

Martin Hamilton, Director of Leeds Civic Trust commented on the proposals and said: “Leeds Civic Trust has been supportive of efforts to save the building for many years.  It is more than a just physical landmark in the area, having played such an important part in the social and cultural history of Richmond Hill. The sensitive blending of contemporary architecture with the historic library building has the potential to further enhance its landmark status and secure its use into the future.”

Mark Finch added: “We continue to invest heavily in the wonderful heritage of the City and are hopeful that we can secure the necessary approvals in the Spring this year, so as to enable construction work to start later in the year.”

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