This is a summary from the Character Appraisal document prepared as part of the conservation proposal process. The Character Appraisal document can be viewed in full at West Park Character Appraisal.

Thanks go to Peter Barker, Tony Ray and the many other local residents who have assisted in this endeavour, which include Councillor Brian Jennings who has both supported and assisted in financing the preparation of the Character Appraisal document.

The Far Headingley, Weetwood and West Park Neighbourhood Design Statement has been adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance by Leeds City Council since 2005. During the preparation of this document it became clear that part of West Park represented a unique example of an Edwardian suburb which had changed little since it was built. Since then a Character Appraisal for West Park has been submitted to give West Park the protection that designation as a Conservation Area can provide. This summary has been compiled from the work of Peter Barker and Tony Ray. The link given above gives the full Character Appraisal document.

During the latter half of the 19th Century much of the Earl of Cardigan's estate in Headingley had already been developed. Further development in the early 1900s along the Otley Road initially 'by-passed' Lord Grimthorpe's (Sir Edmund Beckett)estate, resulting in the apparently isolated area now known as West Park, building upon the farmland (Low Ox Moor). West Park was progressively built during the Edwardian era up to the First World War, and reflected the changing style of design from 'Victorian' red brick and stone mullioned windows as seen in Darnley Road to half and fully rendered houses with large wooden framed bay windows in typical 'Arts and Crafts' style elsewhere.

The 1909 O. S. map of the area (surveyed in 1906) shows the new grid road layout and a scattering of large detached and semi-detached houses in relatively small plots throughout the development site. To serve this growing population, the tram route (no 1) from Leeds was extended from Far Headingley to West Park in 1908, before being finally extended to Lawnswood in 1913 the same year that the parade of shops was constructed on Otley Road in 1913 with their distinctive Dutch gables.

The Conservation Area is grand piano-shaped. Spen Road follows the double curve of the northern boundary alongside the playing fields of Lawnswood School. At the western end and partly along the southern end - Darnley Road and Arncliffe Road - the houses are mainly of brick. More Victorian than Edwardian in style, their design is fairly restrained: windows and doors have a vertical emphasis, stone heads and sills are plain, and roof forms are simple.

The houses on Arncliffe Road and the West Park Fields define the southern boundary, whilst the houses on North Parade mark the boundary to the west, with the Edwardian area not quite making Spen Lane.

Typically the houses are large, with wide frontages and are almost universally three storeys with the upper storey contained within double-pitched roof spaces. There is a consistent use of materials: red brick, white painted render, mock-Tudor gables, red pantiles or rosemary tiles on pitched roofs. But within that framework there is a wealth of variety and individual detail. Tall chimney stacks, roof combinations, dormers set well below the ridge line, windows, doors, porches, bays and oriels: all these vary from house to house and most provide an expression of the art and craft which went into their construction. Most walls have rendered first floor elevations, with brick confined to the lower levels. Windows are wide, often with large two storey bays lighting the major rooms. Front porches, many of them enclosed, are a particular feature of the area, and it is here at the front entrance that the joinery details are at their most exuberant and expressive. Windows are also a source of individual expression. In addition to normal windows, there are bays, square or with chamfered sides: oriels paired either side of external chimney breasts, or set individually on side elevations: circular windows with rubbed brick or stone surrounds. Many windows still retain the original white painted timber frames and stained glass upper lights. Stained glass also features in many front doors and stair windows.

Every effort has been made to try to ensure that the information provided on this website is correct. If it is felt that any detail is incorrect, please contact us at chair@westparkresidents.org.uk


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