Planning permission given for new customer services hub
Planning permission has been granted for a new council customer services hub at the heart of Leeds city centre.
The project to redevelop and expand the existing Merrion House building will include a new six-storey extension that will be home to an integrated one stop centre as well as Leeds City Credit Union and the Volunteer Centre Leeds.
The building will feature a mezzanine in order to create more space and an atrium bringing more natural light into the new one stop centre.
The facility will host enquiry positions and rooms, self-service points, waiting areas, public toilets and baby change facilities as well as a Changing Places Accessible toilet.
More council staff will also be based on site following the redevelopment, with numbers rising from 1,200 to 1,900.
Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel, said:
“This project will create a state-of-the-art new base for many of the council’s key services, putting them all under one roof and giving the public better and quicker access to resources we know are important to them.
“At a time when unprecedented cuts to our budget mean we are looking at more efficient ways of working, it will also help the council make significant savings, which we can reinvest is services for local people."
The new Merrion House will offer approximately 170,000 square feet of office space in total, including 50,000 square feet of office space in the new extension.
The development will also mean the council will retain four key city centre sites, the others being Civic Hall, Enterprise House and St George’s House.
The reorganisation is part of the council’s changing the workplace programme, which will see services adopting flexible and modern new working methods and environments.
Cllr Gruen added: “This redevelopment is not only key to the council’s ambitions to work more flexibly and efficiently, it will also contribute to the regeneration of an area of the city centre which has already seen landmark projects like the first direct arena and the Merrion Centre take shape, helping the economic and cultural growth of the city to work hand in hand.”
The project will see the council’s existing long-term lease arrangement on Merrion House being replaced by a new 25-year agreement.
As part of the new deal, the building will become jointly owned by Leeds City Council and Town Centre Securities PLC.
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