A ‘Victorian Villa’ Townscape: dominated by leafy avenues characterised by large stone Victorian villas set back in large plots with mature trees and stone boundary walls; together with a block of interwar ‘sunshine’ houses in distinctive art deco style.
10.1 The Area
10.1.1 The Wood Lane area is bounded by Grove Lane to the north, Woodhouse Ridge and Headingley Hill to the east and south and the properties fronting Otley Road which fall within Headingley Centre to the west.
10.1.2 By the middle of the nineteenth century, exclusive streets and large villas were under construction just east of Headingley village, including along Wood Lane, originally a footpath, known as Oil Mill Lane as it led to a mill in the Meanwood valley.
10.2 Buildings and Layout
10.2.1 The nineteenth century development was structured around four leafy avenues running off at right angles to Otley Road, namely Grove Lane, Alma Road, Wood Lane and Shire Oak Road (and has similar characteristics to Headingley Hill, which adjoins it to the southeast). The avenues were characterised by large stone Victorian villas set back from the street frontage in large plots with mature trees and stone boundary walls and gate posts. Despite some inappropriate twentieth century infill, such as Mary Morris Hall, and the loss of some villas and garden spaces, this overall character remains to this day. A good example of recent infill can be seen at the junction of Wood Lane and Grove Road.
10.2.2 All this area is in a Conservation Area and many of the villas are listed buildings, notably Moorfield House on Alma Road, Wheatfield House on Wood Lane, and Headingley Castle (The Elms) off Headingley Lane. The oldest property is Headingley Hall on Shire Oak Road which has been substantially modified since it was first built in the middle ages as the Manor House and as a result is not listed.
10.2.3 Two other notable listed buildings in contrasting styles are Brodrick Court (Oakfield) on Alma Road designed by Cuthbert Brodrick in 1859 and Redhill on Shire Oak Road, an Arts and Crafts house designed by Bedford and Kitson in 1901.
10.2.4 One area of infill in the 1930s did introduce a different character, namely the ‘sunshine’ houses on Alma Road/Grove Lane. These semi-detached dwellings present distinctive art deco characteristics including flat roofed porches, curved corner windows, and decorative brick detailing. They are also in the Conservation Area.
10.2.5 Another area with a different character, this time outside the Conservation Area, is the group of semi-detached houses with one long brick terrace around Woodland Park Road - Balbec Avenue.
10.3.1 While there are no formal green spaces within the area, the remaining large plots and extensive mature tree cover produce a feeling of spaciousness with many of the buildings set in the landscape rather than dominating it. This is especially noticeable along Wood Lane and much of Shire Oak Road. Wood Lane ends with views over the Meanwood Valley.
10.4 Key Features of the Wood Lane Area
10.4.1 The area as a whole comprises tree-lined avenues, with stone walls and grass verges.
10.4.2 The avenues are dominated by large buildings, of two- or three-storeys, of redbrick or stone, in a variety of styles with distinctive features/ornamentation.
10.4.3 The houses are set in spacious, wooded grounds.
10.4.4 The sunshine houses in Alma Road/Grove Lane are in original art deco style, with their own distinctive detailing.
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.