Allied London plays down Leeds Dock licensing bid
The developer’s application covers alcohol sales, live and recorded music, films and other events, but the firm told Place Yorkshire the offer will be more about serving residents than creating large events.
Although Allied has for many years held a busy events programme at its flagship, but largely commercial Spinningfields neighbourhood in Manchester, Alex Webb, head of placemaking and events, told Place that the Leeds plan is very different.
Allied has applied for a licence that will cover entertainment and alcohol seven days a week, from 8am through to 10pm, in the public spaces at Leeds Dock. The application is due to be considered by Leeds City Council’s licensing sub-committee on Tuesday 6 September.
Law firm Kuits is working with Allied. A ceiling of five events a year for 500+ people is proposed for the Dock area, which has around 1,000 homes in the vicinity.
Webb said: “What this mostly is about is supporting the street food operators at Leeds Dock by allowing them to expand their offer. Currently, they mostly serve at lunchtimes only, but some of them want to serve beer and expand by a few hours into the evening.
“So what we’re looking for is the flexibility that will allow residents, who might not normally get to benefit from street food where they work, the opportunity to sit out in the evenings with some food and drink. We have no wish to bring large concerts here – there’s no commercial desire, there’s not enough space, it doesn’t make sense.”
On the larger events, he said: “We already have the Light Night Leeds and Waterfront Festival events, and are just seeking the flexibility so when we’re approached to host a fanzone, or the Olympic torch relay, or whatever it might be, we can accommodate that.”
Although there are already licensed premises operating in the area, such as The Canary, this is the first application for a licence in the public realm areas of Leeds Dock, and would cover the sale of alcohol, films, plays, live music, recorded music, dance and “anything similar”.
Eighteen individual letters of objection have been received by LCC ahead of the meeting, along with a joint letter from Labour ward councillors Cllr Paul Wray and Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, along with one from the third ward councillor, the Green Party’s Cllr Ed Carlisle, all of them opposed. Two letters of support have been submitted.
Largely, the objections focus on potential increases in noise and disturbance, while most mention that there is already some level of stress among residents at particular buildings due to ongoing troubles with cladding that are only now being addressed.
The suggestion from Cllrs Wray and Iqbal is that the licence should be limited to weekends and Bank Holidays, with no amplified outdoor music.
Striking a diplomatic note, Cllr Carlisle talked of the developer’s “largely positive track record” adding that the 10pm close suggests “there is little appetite from Allied London to turn the Dock into a riotous 24/7 party”.