Taste of Italy in city’s bid to preserve industrial history

Leeds’ eye-catching Italianate towers could be transferred into the city’s ownership if councillors agree to a proposal for four landmark listed buildings.

They will be asked to approve the transfer of the three towers and an adjacent historical industrial building in Holbeck Urban Village into Leeds City Council ownership at a meeting of its executive board next week (Wednesday 13 March).

Councillors will consider recommendations that could lead to the Giotto Tower, Verona Tower, Little Chimney and the Engine House transferring from the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) to the council.

The historic buildings, located at a part of the HCA’s Tower Works development, are important to the city’s industrial heritage and are major landmarks within Holbeck Urban Village. However, the historic nature of the listed structures makes the site less attractive to investors who might otherwise develop the rest of Tower Works.

The transfer of the properties would be accompanied by a financial endowment, which would provide funding to the council so it can continue to maintain the buildings and bring the Engine House up to a usable standard.

By transferring the buildings with the appropriate funding it is hoped to reduce risks associated with new development at the Tower Works scheme and create economic growth and new jobs. At the same time, the funding will help protect the future of the historic buildings.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy, said:

“Holbeck Urban Village remains an area with significant regeneration potential, particularly with the development of the new Southern Entrance to the railway station. We are committed to working with partners to find solutions to challenges that are stalling development in the area.

“The potential transfer of these landmark buildings can help remove barriers to as well as reinvigorating new development. Securing funding would also help ensure that these listed buildings are maintained as important parts of the Leeds skyline.”

Notes to editors

The executive Board will be informed that specialist technical assessments of the buildings and discussions with the HCA are ongoing with view to an endowment sum being agreed. They will be asked to agree to the transfer of ownership of the buildings to LCC, subject to a suitable endowment sum being agreed. If the recommendations are approved, work will take place with the HCA to agree the final endowment sum. Subject to Department for Communities and Local Government approval, the buildings, with funding, would then transfer to the council in March.

The executive board will also be asked to approve the principle of the Giotto Tower, Verona Tower and Little Chimney to be placed within a trust, with the council as a full trustee.

For media enquiries please contact:

Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335

email: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk