An update on regeneration work carried in the South Bank of Leeds city centre and principles for future activities in the area will be considered by senior councillors next week.
At its meeting at Leeds Civic Hall on Wednesday 15 July, Leeds City Council’s executive board will debate the latest position on the redevelopment of 136 hectares of land from Holbeck Urban Village to Leeds Dock, which represents one of the largest city centre regeneration initiatives in Europe.
Given its prime location, the successful regeneration of the South Bank is of key strategic importance to the future economic growth of Leeds. The area is equivalent in size to 190 football pitches, with over 36 hectares of brownfield land potentially available for development. Early estimates are that, once developed, the South Bank can accommodate approximately 35,000 jobs and 4,000 new homes. With its proximity to the River Aire and over 30 listed buildings in the area, there is potential to deliver a distinctive and world-class regeneration programme.
Progress is already underway, with ongoing developments including:
- The new Leeds Rail Station southern entrance, which is due to open this autumn and will enable 20,000 pedestrians per day to directly access the South Bank from the station
- The Flood Alleviation Scheme on the River Aire is underway to provide greater flood protection across the South Bank and Leeds city centre, and is due for completion next year
- Proposals to deliver 1276 homes on brownfield sites at Tower Works, Round Foundry, Low Fold and Sweet Street, with a strong focus on providing housing suitable for families.
- First phase of a new campus for Leeds City College in the South Bank is complete with a second phase on Hunslet Road to be constructed by the autumn
- A new campus for Leeds College of Building has opened at Black Bull Street
- A planning application to create the largest secondary free school in the country by Ruth Gorse Academy at Black Bull Street is progressing
- Proposal for a University Technical College specialising in advanced manufacturing and engineering on Hunslet Road
- Together, these learning facilities will be located within a five-minute walk of each other creating an educational cluster to be accessed by 10,000 students each day
- Working with owners Allied London to revitalise the Leeds Dock area, such as through the new dedicated shuttle bus service to and from Leeds Rail Station, and attracting Google’s first ‘Digital Garage’ in the country to be based there providing skills training to local businesses
- Proposals in place to restore the Grade II-listed Engine House as part of the wider Tower Works development - with proposals for an art house cinema, micro-brewery and restaurant at the building now progressing
At the meeting, the executive board will also be asked to endorse a set of principles to guide activities over the next 12 months for the South Bank.
These include the creation of a short, medium and long-term delivery plan to bring forward the delivery of major infrastructure in the area once the HS2 station location is decided. This will include a delivery programme for projects to reduce the dominance of roads in the area, and the delivery of a green city centre park
It would also see the council continuing to work with partners and local communities to deliver sustainable and inclusive regeneration and growth in the South Bank, not only to deliver economic benefits but also other facilities and amenities and to improve its appearance and environment in keeping with the aim of being a family and dementia-friendly city. This will include work to improve the quality of public realm and spaces with an aim of creating more playful spaces.
The council will also look to dispose of or acquire land in order to boost regeneration, and will work with local businesses to explore the potential benefits of creating a new South Bank Business Improvement District (BID) to complement the BID set up earlier this year in the city centre.
The proposals will also seek approval to continue efforts to secure funding for the restoration of the Grade I-listed Temple Works as a priority, as well as developing proposals for the regeneration of Hunslet Riverside.
Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“Getting the regeneration of the South Bank area right is absolutely pivotal to the future of the Leeds economy and this is our chance to make a real difference in that part of the city centre.
“Getting it right means maximising the land and the opportunities to create and attract new business, investment and jobs, as well as making new homes and providing a desirable area where people and especially families want to live and spend time, and where young people can learn and develop skills.
“Considerable work is already underway at the South Bank but there is much more to do in order to ensure its immense potential can be fully realised for everyone in the local communities and Leeds as a whole to benefit from.”
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