Leeds-based Edward Architecture has been appointed to help move forward an exciting and ambitious community scheme to transform Holbeck’s iconic viaduct in Leeds into a vibrant green space for the public to enjoy.
The practice is working on a prototype access point and show area of the viaduct to generate interest and political will for the project which requires some £80K investment/fundraising plus pro-bono and community work.
Edward Architecture is working alongside a team of volunteers who are committed to transforming the unused Victorian railway line into a picturesque walkway, similar to the high line in New York and Camden, to link South Leeds with the city centre. The scheme is subject to the outcome of the forthcoming National Rail Integrated Rail Plan.
Built in 1882 for the London and North Western Railway, the viaduct is an acclaimed feat of Victorian engineering forming part of a vital transport link into the city centre with panoramic views of the city. The project aims to re-open the viaduct as a thoroughfare linking Elland Road and Beeston to the city centre, with access points at Domestic Street and Holbeck Urban Village.
Edward Architecture is helping to assemble other consultants such as structural engineers Adept, landscape architects Urban Wilderness and Brooks Ecological to ensure a high level understanding of risk aspects to the masterplan.
The team has devised concepts for where access points could be, how they would look and how they could work for all members of the community including disabled access without compromising the structure of the existing viaduct.
It is hoped that the prototype access point and show area, which will take the form of a 100-200m area of track being accessed by a stair tower in Holbeck, will demonstrate what Leeds could benefit from should the project achieve enough support to be delivered.
The project will completely repurpose the viaduct with plans in place to create cycling and walking routes alongside spaces for people to enjoy panoramic city views. Further ideas include community gardens, arts spaces, market stalls and an outdoor yoga studio along the 1.7km line which runs from Granary Wharf to Holbeck. The access points would create footfall, business opportunities, cycle hire opportunities and opportunities for additional retail and food outlets.
Graham Edward, managing director, Edward Architecture, said: “We are delighted to be appointed on this exciting project designed to bring back to life an iconic Victorian industrial heritage site for public use.
“With the current growth and development of South Bank Leeds, the benefits would be significant by creating a linear urban oasis throughout the city of Leeds.
“Having visited the New York high line, which is fantastic, we can see the potential of an attraction like this which would link communities and stimulate regeneration.”
RH Hilary Benn MP Leeds Central said: “It’s a great document and a great vision, which I strongly support.”