Save Aire Street Workshops!

Save Aire Street Workshops!

This is not a blog post we ever wanted to  have to write but it would mean a lot to us if you can read and share this to help get as much exposure as possible. Unfortunately we have recently discovered Aire Street Workshops, the building Take it Easy Lab is located in, is being sold by Leeds City Council and we have to vacate the premises by 31st January 2025. This decision is a direct threat to our existence as well as to the 50+ other small businesses who operate from within the premises.

LCVS Enterprises, a social enterprise, who are the managers of Aire Street Workshops have taken care of the building since 1981 and supported, nurtured and facilitated the existence of hundreds of businesses, and creatives in the 40+ years of their tenure. The contribution Aire Street Workshops make to Leeds and to small business in the city is immeasurable. Although we are just a small part of Aire Street Workshops, without them, we would not exist and are proud to be a part of this amazing community and to call it our home.

Leeds City Council claim the reasoning for the sale of the building is to meet their ‘Carbon Neutral 2030’ objective. Illogically, selling a building which is over 150 years old, a hub for creative industry in Leeds, is more carbon neutral than simply updating the historically significant structure which already exists. Their decision has been taken without any public consultation on the matter and in spite of a previous failed decision finding “The value of the small businesses that operate from the premises” and “The lack of affordable alternative workspace in the city”.

It is our belief that the sale is an attack on the existence of small business within Leeds - a city which purports to be the ‘City of Culture’, the council have chosen to evict 50+ small independent businesses; businesses who help shape the culture of Leeds in 2024.

Our request is a modest one in the circumstances - a meeting with Leeds Council to allow us to explore alternative solutions including:

Investigate the possibility of running the building via the Community Asset Transfer policy.

Investigate mutually beneficial acquisition of the building by sale with tenants in situ.

Other suitable alternatives which retain Aire Street Workshops as a community asset, rather than sale of the premises without due care of forethought.

Sign the petition:

Voice your opinions with the CEO of the council here:

Get in touch with the local MP for Leeds Centre, Hilary Benn here: