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Senior councillors approve £21.5million Corn Exchange Connecting Leeds improvements scheme

Approval has been given for the first step in bringing about transformational improvements to the Corn Exchange area in Leeds.

Leeds City Council’s executive board have formally agreed the £21.5million construction plans required to transform the Corn Exchange and surrounding areas. A further £6.1million is secured for phase two works on Meadow Lane. Work is being carried out as part of the Connecting Leeds programme which is set to invest an unprecedented £270million in the transport network of the city.

The area surrounding the Corn Exchange no longer meets the transport and economic ambitions of the city. It is congested and buses regularly are held up or delayed. Work on phase one starts in June to transform Call Lane, New Market Street, Kirkgate, Lower Briggate Duncan Street and parts of Vicar Lane and Boar Lane. The work will include widening pavements, introducing more greenery and improved public realm.

The second phase will focus on Meadow Lane to re-prioritise it from a four-lane highway, into a mainly two-lane road with cycle ways and walking routes connecting the city via the planned city park. This proposal is a significant development in the council’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The scheme will also offer priority for pedestrians and cyclists in a bid to encourage a modal shift from private cars to walking, cycling and public transport use. It is anticipated the scheme will lead to a reduction of 175km travelled in private cars in the opening year. The reduction is expected to be maintained throughout a lifespan of 60 years. The expected completion date for all of the work is by winter 2020.