The building neighbours JD on the busy retail pitch. Credit: planning documents

Leeds nod for Countrylarge student living

Upper floors will be converted at the grade two-listed 133-137 Briggate in the city centre following a green light from planners.

Countrylarge, which is  advancing other Leeds projects including South Bank residential, submitted its proposals for Briggate in summer 2023, with Corstorphine & Wright working as architect and Zerum as planner.

With a listed building consent also required, the plans comprise 43 student bedspaces: 14 studio flats, 10 one-bedroom apartments, four accessible flats and 11 beds in cluster accommodation.

The proposals include shared amenity space comprising coworking space, a cinema room and gym, in addition to a communal dining and kitchen space and study areas at fourth floor level linked to a roof terrace.

On the eastern side of Briggate, Leeds’ main shopping street, the Renaissance-style building is grade two-listed. Originally called The Exchange Buildings it was constructed as a post office exchange in 1903, has facing materials of stone and brick and is five storeys tall, with the top floor a later addition from 1920.

The upper floors have been vacant since Gap Clothing vacated the premises in 2017. The ground floor and basement is now mostly occupied by Foot Locker.

Planning officers summed up: “The proposal will bring the upper floors of a long-term vacant grade II listed building back into use. On balance the proposals are considered to be in accordance with local and national planning policy and the less than substantial harm to the building is justified.”

In another city centre project, Countrylarge is hoping to convert the upper floors of Wray’s Building in Vicar Lane to apartments, again working with Zerum and Corstorphine & Wright.

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