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Plans for redevelopment of historic site

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10 Jul 2015

Plans have been submitted for a historic Leeds industrial complex, was a bombing target during World War II,  to be converted into a £9.5m university technical college (UTC) focused on advanced manufacturing.

Located at the Braime Pressings Factory on Hunslet Road, the UTC will be housed in the west wing of the facility, with building work expected to start in September 2015 for completion in September 2016.

UTC Leeds will specialise in engineering and manufacturing, providing a vocational education for up to 600 young people aged 14-19 from across the city region, with the curriculum focused on the 'STEM' subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths.

The grade II-listed factory building is being acquired for the UTC Trust from the current site owner Braime Pressings.

The UTC proposal would result in the subdivision of the former Braimes Pressings site, with the college element adjacent to but separated from the main manufacturing buildings, which would remain occupied by Braimes Pressings.

Plans to create the UTC took a major step forward earlier this year following the approval of a funding agreement worth £9.5m by the Department of Education. The agreement covers the cost of building works and initial staffing costs, providing the green light to the UTC Leeds steering group to develop the new college building and start the recruitment process for a principal designate.

UTC Leeds was conceived in 2014 by industry members and is employer-led with strong backing from the city, being supported by the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, and resources from Leeds City Council. The UTC Trust has also developed a network of education and business sponsors within the region, including: AGFA Graphics, Siemens, Kodak, Unilever and the University of Leeds.

Phil Ball, Managing Director at Kodak and a member of the UTC Leeds steering group, commented: “UTC Leeds will combine the very best in modern learning and teaching environments with the city’s great manufacturing heritage.

“Working with industry, the job of the new principal will be to present this fantastic opportunity to parents and ambitious young people and recruit the first intake of 105 14 year olds and 120 16 year olds ready for when the UTC Leeds opens its doors..

The design team for the project has worked closely with the stakeholders to ensure that the building's layout reflects their needs; the proposal drawn up by architects' practice Race Cottam for contractor BAM aims for a sensitive re-use of the existing manufacturing facility.

Three storeys of teaching accommodation are envisaged, located within the existing building volume and set out to make the most of the existing structure. Rooflights and the glazed gable are used to provide daylight deep into the building plan.

Stacking the majority of the accommodation to the edge of the building will create a large central area, which retains the character of the existing structure - leaving the existing roof in place. Externally, new additions would include a main entrance and a circulation stair.

Mark Kennedy has recently been appointed principal designate of the new UTC Leeds which opens next September for 14to 18-year-olds.