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JCT600 needs flashy building

Ambitious planners could be about to scupper plans by JCT600 to build a £5m+ Porsche Centre in Leeds.

The dealer group’s preferred location for the 30-car showroom is a quarter-mile away from its present Brooklands Porsche dealership. It bought the 1.8 acre brownfield site at the junction of two arterial roads, Gelderd Road and Wortley Ring Road, last year. But indications from city planners are that the project’s design may be too modest.

John Tordoff, chief executive, says: “The feedback we’ve had is twofold. Firstly, the council isn’t 100% certain it wants motor retail on that site, but we think we can overcome that objection.

Secondly, it’s not 100% happy with the design. It wants a landmark building on a landmark site, something a bit flasher than we were planning. But we’re working with Porsche and our architects MDG Architects to amend the plans in a way that still complies with Porsche’s guidelines.”

The 32,000sq ft building will house a central administration team for JCT600’s other Porsche businesses in Sheffield and Newcastle. Other features will include a rooftop storage area for 35 vehicles, a 13-car forecourt, 17-bay workshop and 100 parking spaces.

A decision is due from Leeds City Council next month. Tordoff says he’s “only 50/50” confident of success, but will consider an appeal if necessary. He also has alternative sites to fall back on.

“You can come up with the best argument in the world as to where things should be allowed for building but ultimately the council is working to its own urban redevelopment plan. We’ve got our solicitors on the case working to put reports together to overcome any objections,” says Tordoff.

The present Porsche dealership was built in 1998 and shares the Brooklands site with Ferrari, Maserati and Lotus franchises. Porsche’s growth in sales and model range, including the latest Cayman model, means the business has outgrown its facility. Sales at Brooklands total 800 new and used Porsches annually, but Tordoff expects the new dealership to sell 1000 units.



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