Headingley Centre


The Town Centre: a typically dense and diverse centre, consisting of commercial, community and residential buildings, showing its history, from original village stone cottages on Otley Road, to the out-of-scale Arndale Centre opposite. Despite the variety, the centre is unified by its historical continuity and the overall human scale of its streetscape.


The Area
9.1.1 ‘Headingley Centre’ is understood in various ways, for different purposes. For the purpose of this NDS, Headingley Centre comprises Otley Road (from Spring Road to Shaw Lane), North Lane, Cardigan Road (from North Lane to Spring Road) and Spring Road itself, and the area enclosed by those streets.

9.1.2 The approach to the Centre from Headingley Lane is visually attractive as the road gently winds downhill to the junction with St. Michael’s Road and views of St. Michael’s Church (1886) with its 200ft spire, and the Skyrack pub present themselves. The Original Oak pub and the War Memorial both add to the sense of place and arrival at this point, the original village green (a fragment of which survives in front of the Parish Hall, see front cover).

9.1.3 The old Shire Oak (which fell at last in 1941), the village green and the church, have been the focal point of Headingley through the ages. The first school in Headingley was opened next to the church in 1783, and the two pubs, both named after the Oak, are amongst the scanty remains of the old village, both built in the eighteenth century.

9.2 Buildings and Layout
9.2.1 Headingley Centre today presents a wide variety of nineteenth and twentieth century developments but may be subdivided into a number of distinct quarters.

9.2.2 The Town Centre comprises the frontages along Otley Road and North Lane, and is defined as such in the UDP (No16).

9.2.3 Progression along Otley Road reveals a mixture of building styles ranging from the out of scale modernist Arndale Centre (1965) to the converted original village stone cottages near the junction with St.Anne’s Road, including a new dry stone wall. The Methodist Chapel (1844) is a notable building but, in contrast, the parade of shops on the corner of North Lane and Otley Road is a negative feature. Other notable buildings include the Skyrack pub and the Taps pub, the latter previously being a pumping station on the main water pipeline to Leeds from Eccup reservoir.

9.2.4 Generally the frontage properties are two to three storeys which gives coherence to the street scene and the two taller office blocks are set behind the parade of shops between Wood Lane and Shire Oak Road (so located to flank the now abandoned Headingley by-pass).

9.2.5 North Lane experienced similar changes. Before the 1850s it was a narrow, irregular road set amongst fields with a scattering of cottages - Ivy Cottage on Cross Chapel Street is one that remains to this day. North Lane has retained some of the characteristics of a local high street with the Rose Garden acting as a focal point and hosting the farmer’s market. The former Lounge Cinema (1916) with its recent extension, The Arc, add to this sense of place.

9.2.6 The Chapel Quarter lies in the northern angle of the North Lane junction with Otley Road. Cardigan estate land around the Methodist Chapel was sold in 1850, and the stone-built Chapel Terrace, Chapel Square and Chapel Street were constructed. Apart from the dominant Chapel (1844), buildings are characteristically small (two-storey only) and densely packed. Many streets are distinguished by original cobbles, paving, kerbs, walls and copings. A good example of a brick terrace with an original cobbled street is Ash Terrace. One of the gems of Headingley is Alma Cottages, an unusual group of mock- Tudor semi-detached houses, built following the Battle of Alma (1854).

9.2.7 The HEART Quarter is sandwiched in the southern angle between Otley Road, North Lane and St. Michael’s Road. Following the Cardigan Sale of 1888, part of the area was filled with working class terraced and back-to-back housing with cobbled streets (the Granbys). Bennett Road includes HEART (Headingley Enterprise & Arts Centre) itself, and consists of terraced houses of which nos 13-27 turn their backs to the road with long gardens facing south. The area also contains a number of notable buildings including the former St. Michael’s School, the Parochial Institute, and Bleak House (now the New Headingley Club). A few original village buildings remain in the area, notably St. Michael’s Cottage off St. Michael’s Lane, and Deans Cottage in Kings Place, off St. Michael’s Road.

9.2.8 The St. Michael’s Quarter around the Church extends along St. Michael’s Lane and Cardigan Road down to Spring Road. The quarter is characterised by larger Victorian and Edwardian houses, with a substantial terrace on St. Michael’s Crescent, and predominantly semi-detached villas on Cardigan Road, Bainbrigge Road and Spring Road. Chapel Lane forms an attractive cobbled and stone-walled ginnel behind St. Michael’s Crescent. St. Michael’s Church remains the key landmark but the area also contains the Original Oak pub and other late 18th - early 19th century stone properties associated with the original village, most notably the Parish Hall with the remnants of the village green. The 20th century development of the telephone exchange is out of scale and character with the area but St.Columba’s Church is far more sympathetic.

9.2.9 Small inter-war semis are to be found at the junction of Spring Road and Bainbrigge Road and on Dennistead Crescent, at either end of Headingley Centre.

9.3 Spaces
9.3.1 The area is densely built up and lies within an area defined as a ‘priority area for improving green space provision’ so any existing green space is at a premium.

9.3.2 In terms of public open space there is only the Rose Garden, so it is vitally important to retain all significant trees on streets and in gardens together with private green space that contributes to the street scene, e.g. the front gardens of nos 12-24 North Lane and St. Michael’s Parish Hall, and the churchyard of St. Michael’s itself.

9.3.3 The allotments at the junction of St. Anne’s Road and Otley Road are another significant area of green space.

9.4 Key Features of Headingley Centre
9.4.1 Buildings are predominantly two- or three-storey, of stone or brick, and characterised by a vertical emphasis (with pitched roofs), so maintaining a coherent rhythm to existing street frontages.

9.4.2 Significant locations (e.g. entry-points) are distinguished by landmark buildings (St Michael’s Church, South Parade Baptist Church).

9.4.3 Many streets retain their original setts, paving, walls, etc.

9.4.4 Some post-war additions are unsympathetic, including the Arndale Centre, White Rose House, the former telephone exchange and the ‘Oddbins’ corner, which are out-of-scale, of distinctly different materials, and with a horizontal emphasis.

Extracted from Headingley & Hyde Park Neighbourhood Design Statement, Leeds City Council, 2010.  The whole document comprises 56 pages, in twenty chapters, with 150 illustrations in full colour.  Copies are available online at <http://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/Headingley%20and%20HP%20NDS.pdf> or in print at HEART on Bennett Road.

See also, Listed Buildings.
For the area now, go to Headingley Centre.
For historic photos, go to Historic Headingley Centre.