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Restoration of Leeds’ oldest building given green light

Planners have given the go-ahead to the restoration of Leeds’ oldest building on its oldest street.

The First White Cloth Hall, a Grade II*-listed former cloth market on Kirkgate, Leeds, was built in 1711, but has fallen into severe disrepair in recent decades.

The building became an important part of Leeds’ rise as a textile superpower during the industrial revolution but has been on English Heritage’s  ‘at risk register’ since 1999. In 2011 half of the structure was demolished after the collapse of the neighbouring building.

The building is owned by developer Rushbond Group, who also owns other heritage buildings in the city such as The Corn Exchange, the York Road library and the Majestic.

Their plans include demolishing and rebuilding the west wing, creating a new mixed-use building with offices, a bar and a cafe and a covered courtyard.

Councillor Richard Lewis said: ‘The first White Cloth Hall was a key part of one of the most important chapters in the story of Leeds when the city began to establish itself as a cornerstone of the textile trade and a global industrial powerhouse.

It’s very unfortunate that this once impressive building has fallen into the dilapidated state we see it in today.’

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