Historic piece of Leeds protected

A historic building has been protected in the hope it can be incorporated into a future retail quarter.

Leeds City Council has negotiated with owners of Saxon Hawke House, known locally as the Lyon Works building, on Templar Street, that they will suspend demolition of the structure to make way for a temporary car park.

The agreement with owners Hammerson will see the building remain for at least 18 months while plans for the next phase of Victoria Gate are finalised – with a view that the historic structure can be incorporated into their plans.

Clearing the area and reorganising existing off-street car parking could result in an extra 145 car parking spaces. The additional spaces would replace some of those lost when the Union Street car park closed recently.

The temporary car park could operate for five years before construction begins of the second phase of Victoria Gate – Hammerson’s proposed addition to its aspirational retail and entertainment development.

Constructed in three stages between 1914 and 1937 the Lyon Works clothing factory has been deemed exempt from listed status by English Heritage meaning current owner Hammerson could demolish the structure.

But council leaders made a strong case to keep the building at a planning meeting today (Thursday 26 June). The meeting also addressed a number of other buildings which could be demolished including the old Vicar Lane Bus station.

The first phase of Victoria Gate is currently under construction across the road on East Gate and will see the largest John Lewis store in the north and the first in Leeds as well as providing an 800-space multi-story car park.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Planning and Personnel, said: 

“This is a very positive development. Where our planning powers are limited we have to rely on negotiations with developers. We do not have the powers that English Heritage has to protect important buildings but we have done our upmost to secure a way forward in this case. I would like to thank Hammerson for engaging with us to come to this agreement.”

Councillor Jim McKenna who chaired this meeting of the City Plans Panel said: 

“It is always encouraging to see regeneration of the city centre, but wherever possible we are keen to ensure progress does not come at the cost of our heritage. We don’t want icons from Leeds’ history disappearing and where appropriate and possible we’ll use our planning powers to try to protect them.”


For media enquiries please contact:

Dan Johnson,

Leeds City Council press office,

Tel 0113 247 5472

Email: daniel.johnson2@leeds.gov.uk