Leeds is booming: Huge boost in growth of city as we leave London in our wake

Leeds city centre.
Leeds city centre.
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Urban growth in Leeds is among the strongest in the country, a report has found, with more than 32,000 jobs created in the city since 1998.

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Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities

Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities

The Centre for Cities report has found the city centre population has soared at seven times the rate of London in recent decades, alongside a 34 per cent rise in employment.

But, it warns, commercial prospects for the future could be “undermined” by planning policies prioritising new housing over commercial space.

Cities should be allowed to exclude centres from permitted development rights, the report concludes, and relax planning to enable more house-building in other areas such as green belt land.

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“The city’s urban renaissance has brought opportunities for people living across the city and its surrounding areas, and it’s vital that it continues,” said Andrew Carter, Centre for Cities CEO.

“But for that to happen, local leaders need to take tough decisions on how to sustain the growth of the commercial centre, while also providing homes that people need.”

Leeds saw the second highest growth in England, the report found, just below Manchester, with the population growing 151 per cent.

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Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, Coun Richard Lewis, said the city centre has seen “significant” job creation over the last decade, with the authority committed to a mixed use approach to planning: “There has been a strong renaissance in the city centre being a place people want to live, and we will continue to encourage this as it helps to add more balance to the city overall including new facilities.

“This can be best seen in the South Bank, where major brownfield regeneration offers new housing, jobs, learning, improved transport and recreation including a new city park as part of a fully planned and sustainable planning approach for Leeds.”