Property group ramps up accessibility at Leeds Corn Exchange

Work creating a new entrance, as part of the transformation programme for Leeds Corn Exchange, has now been completed. For the very first time in the building’s history, there is now a fully accessible front entrance into one of Leeds’s iconic assets, dramatically improving access for all users. 

The stunning new fully accessible entranceway at the front of the building now incorporates a beautifully curved sloping stone ramp, designed to blend seamlessly with the original 170 year old steps.

The works, commissioned by Rushbond, the award-winning property company behind a series of major restoration and regeneration projects in the City, were carried out by Yorkshire-based contractors Dobsons, working with specialist stonemasons Bullens.

Newly appointed centre manager at Leeds Corn Exchange, Adam Warner, said: “Accessibility has been an issue with the building for a number of years. Following Rushbond’s acquisition, their new design team, led by Seven Architecture, evolved an innovative design to address this longstanding weakness. Leeds Corn Exchange now has a new and welcoming main entrance that looks fantastic and is easily accessible for prams, wheelchairs and everyone else visiting the building. It blends in so well, I suspect that many people may not even realise it’s new!”

In addition to the transformational construction works, additional investment inside Leeds Corn Exchange has seen an inspirational art installation light up the main entrance, creating a visual spectacular for visitors. Named ‘The Course of Days’, the artistic art and light installation, created by Output Arts, uses cutting-edge digital technology to explore the changing seasons and the rhythms of passing time.

Leeds-based poet, Ma Maposa’s words have also been hand-painted onto the inner circle that divides the ground and lower ground yard, and all of the retailers’ doorways have been painted in fresh new independent colours. Richard Baker from Rushbond, added: “This is a major moment in time on this new journey for Leeds Corn Exchange. For the first time since 1863, the building is fully accessible and it’s something the whole team is immensely proud of.

“The beautiful design of the steps and ramp, which follow the building’s natural curved contours, integrate effortlessly with the historic landmark. We hope it will further enhance the Corn Exchange’s reputation for promoting creativity and innovation, as well as being home to many of the city’s leading independent retailers. It’s the ideal time to have the ramp operational, as we have such an active Christmas programme, involving our neighbours at Leeds Playhouse, who will be performing and putting on workshops on the 15th and 16th December to raise money for our friends at MAP Charity.

“There are also some fabulous guest retailers who have recently taken up residency in Leeds Corn Exchange.  Leeds Little Bookshop, Released Records and Urban Mermaid are all original city players who have joined us for the festive season. It’s all part of delivering a whole programme of works through into 2019 – so watch this space!”

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