Leeds’s South Bank area could hold the key to the city’s hopes of establishing itself as the digital capital of the North.
That was one of the main messages to emerge from the launch of property consultancy Bilfinger GVA’s new report, Northern Powerhouse: Realising Its Full Potential.
The report cites the opportunities offered for digital development in go-ahead areas like the South Bank as a way in which the wider Leeds city region can make the most of the push to create an economic Northern Powerhouse.
Held at Leeds’s Aspire venue, the launch event featured a panel of speakers that included Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan and Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.
They agreed that the city region should capitalise on its existing position as a centre of digital excellence through the regeneration of “key strategic property sites”.
But they also warned that a focus on digital should not come at the expense of longer-standing Leeds success stories such as financial and professional services.
Mr Marsh said: “The north of England has a unique opportunity to create an economy that is a third bigger than it is today by 2050, generating over a million more jobs across our key sectors.
“Within the digital sector, Leeds city region has the opportunity to become globally recognised in areas such as data storage and cyber security, while in the health sector there are tremendous growth opportunities for our city region, particularly in the fields of medical devices, technology and informatics.”
The event followed the launch of the YEP’s Digital City platform, which celebrates a sector that supports about 70,000 jobs across the city region.
Leeds’s South Bank area stretches from Holbeck urban village to Leeds Dock and is being promoted as offering prime development opportunities.