It’s been announced preliminary works to transform Leeds City Square into what the council calls “a more people-first environment” will begin next month.
The traffic management works will divert all through-traffic away from City Square, ahead of its permanent closure to traffic in February 2023 – helping to create what’s aimed to be “a world-class gateway to the city centre and making it an even safer place to live, work and visit”.
The Council says In order to complete the necessary works in time for the permanent closure, keep buses moving, and to ensure the safety of the public and workers on site, increasing levels of traffic management will be required.
From Sunday 4 September, diversions to traffic travelling north into the city centre along Neville Street, Bishopgate Street and Swinegate will be in place.
Vehicular access through City Square on Wellington Street past the railway station and The Queens Hotel will be restricted to local property access only, once the works start in September, until the permanent closure comes into effect next year.
The significant nature of the diversion and traffic management will make this route into the city centre no longer attractive to motorists. It is important that visitors and businesses who currently use this route begin to plan ahead and consider alternative methods of transport or alternative routes into the city, to avoid being more adversely affected when the works start in September.
Drivers wishing to gain access to the railway station pick-up/drop-off on Aire Street will need approach from the Whitehall Road direction instead of driving through the Square. General vehicular access will still be permitted to Lower Basinghall Street from Bishopgate Street for localised access and designated blue badge parking bays, as at present.
Leeds City Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for infrastructure and climate, said: “Removing through traffic from City Square has been a long-held ambition, and feedback from residents and business was that they want major improvements such as these made as quickly as possible, so we’re working hard to do this.
“The ongoing works at the station provide the opportunity to carry out these works at City Square at the same time and redress the current imbalance where thousands of pedestrians are using this area each day yet its layout favours vehicles – at a time of growing footfall at the railway station.
“We ask for people’s patience as we recognise that these improvements will cause disruption over the short term, and we apologise for any inconvenience. We are committed to keeping everyone updated as regularly as possible on any changes or works which may affect how people travel into the city.”
(Picture – Leeds City Council)