Going in the right direction! Leeds business leaders make South Bank call

Leeds Chamber of Commerce's Gerald Jennings. Pic: Simon Vine.
Leeds Chamber of Commerce's Gerald Jennings. Pic: Simon Vine.
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The development of Leeds’s South Bank must be about “more than just work and homes”, business leaders declared today.

In a report released exclusively to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said regeneration plans for the area could include the provision of new conference and exhibition space, specific opportunities for creative industries and sporting facilities such as a swimming pool.

The report also floats the idea of using the “history and architecture” of important South Bank sites such as Tower Works and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to support the opening of new family visitor attractions.

Chamber bosses say that, if it is handled correctly, the South Bank has the potential to become “a location of true national and European significance”.

Key to the area’s future, adds the report, are proposals for the Yorkshire Hub, a hugely expanded Leeds City Station that would cater for both north-south HS2 and transpennine HS3 high speed rail services.

Leeds Chamber of Commerce president Gerald Jennings said: “Not an HS2 track has been laid yet but the enthusiasm and confidence which is building across the private sector in Leeds and the city region is tangible, and I believe is captured in [this report].”

Covering the equivalent of 250 football pitches, the South Bank stretches from Holbeck’s so-called ‘urban village’ to Leeds Dock.

Thousands of new homes are planned for the area while firms such as Vastint, Burberry, Citu and CEG have recently committed more than £500m of investment to it.

Leeds City Council’s executive board is today due to decide whether to give the green light to a public consultation on how to best develop the South Bank.

The West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce report can be viewed in full at the www.wnychamber.co.uk/policy web page.

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