Work at a famous Leeds landmark has been completed, creating Yorkshire’s first elevated urban park.
The project at Wellington Place in the west end of the city has seen access returned to the historic Monk Bridge viaduct for the first time in 40 years.
MEPC, the developer and asset manager behind the urban quarter, has created a lift and stairs along the existing wall of the viaduct to provide public access to the formerly disused rail track on top.
A landscaped park, including pathways, seating and extensive planting, has been created by City Developments Limited on the viaduct, running from Wellington Place to The Junction waterside residential development.
The Junction comprises 665 apartments across five blocks with plans by City Developments Limited to also create live music, shopping, and food and drink experiences in the arches that run underneath the viaduct.
Sustainability is a central focus of the scheme, with a new path running to the bottom of the viaduct taking walkers and cyclists from the city centre through the heart of the Wellington Place neighbourhood, onto the viaduct and beyond.
The grade two-listed Monk Bridge viaduct was built around 1846 as part of the new railway network being constructed in the Wellington Street area of Leeds. It became an important part of Leeds Central Station which was completed in 1857, carrying high level lines to the station and connecting to a lifting tower which still stands on the Wellington Place development today.
The viaduct went out of use when Central Station closed in 1967, and it was partially demolished and blocked off after the 1980s.
Paul Pavia, Head of Development at MEPC, said: “Creating accessible and welcoming public realm has always been a vital part of the Wellington Place offer and we are thrilled to have built on this through this exciting project.
“Furthermore, as a long-term developer we are hugely respectful of the local history that forms part of Wellington Place and the surrounding area and are passionate about sensitively bringing it back to life for people to enjoy and use as a greener way to travel.”
He added: “The delivery of this project has been a collaborative process between ourselves, our construction partner Wates, City Developments Limited, Leeds City Council and others, and we are thrilled with the results.”
Neil McGinty, UK Development Director at City Developments Limited, said: “Occupation of The Junction is progressing well and the completion of the Monk Bridge link is an important project milestone, providing safe access for our residents and to a fabulous new park for Leeds.
“We know that good connectivity to the city centre is vital for residents and local people and the vision being delivered here at The Junction and by our neighbours at Wellington Place is testament to our commitment and passion to deliver high quality public spaces. We are excited that the Monk Bridge viaduct will become an intrinsic part of the city’s landscape for many years to come.”