Council considers plan to help Kirkstall scheme forge ahead

Councillors will next week be asked to approve a funding package that could enable initial works on a major regeneration scheme and railway station at Kirkstall to forge ahead.

A new riverside community of affordable housing, office space and shopping and leisure facilities is planned for the former Kirkstall Forge site, where Kirkstall Abbey’s Cistercian monks produced their own iron.

It would create a thriving new family-friendly community in a beautiful, historic riverside setting with around 1,000 homes, 300 construction posts, along with an estimated 1,800 direct jobs and 300 across the wider area on completion.

There are also plans for a new Kirkstall Forge railway station to increase accessibility to the area from both Leeds and Bradford.

Leeds City Council’s executive board is to be asked at its meeting next week (June 19) to agree spending £9.9 million on highways infrastructure work to provide access to both the regeneration scheme and the proposed railway station.

Councillors will hear that the for Kirkstall Forge to get off the ground it will need a new access road from the A65 to the station with a road and pedestrian bridge over the River Aire, along with a new road junction with traffic lights on the A65 itself and temporary parking for 190 vehicles.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development and the economy, Leeds City Council, said:

“Kirkstall Forge is a unique and very special development that offers a rare opportunity to create a thriving new mixed-use community on a brownfield site in a lovely historical setting not far from the city centre.”

“However, for it to be able to get under way the relevant road infrastructure needs to be in place and this is why the executive board is being asked to consider approving this spending upfront.”

The scheme itself is to be developed by CEG Ltd on behalf of site owners GMV Twelve Ltd, with whom an agreement is being negotiated to repay the costs to the council of the highways infrastructure spending, and a security package has been agreed to safeguard the council’s investment. The council would finance the works upfront through borrowing.

The contract for the works would not be let until the Department for Transport agrees the final business case for the Leeds Rail Growth Package, which it is due to consider in Spring 2014.

For media enquiries please contact:

Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335

e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk