‘World class’ masterplan for Leeds’s South Bank gathers pace

An artist's  impression of the new south entrance to Leeds Railway Station.
An artist's impression of the new south entrance to Leeds Railway Station.
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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, is to be discussed by senior Leeds councillors next week.

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The planned regeneration of the South Bank is considered of key strategic importance to the future economic growth of the city.

The area is equivalent in size to 190 football pitches, with over 36 hectares of brownfield land potentially available for development.

It is hoped that, once developed, the South Bank will bring 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 also potential to deliver a “distinctive and world-class regeneration programme”, according to key figures in the city.

Progress is already underway, with ongoing developments including the new Leeds Railway Station southern entrance, which is due to open this autumn. Other projects include a major Flood Alleviation Scheme on the River Aire and proposals to deliver 1276 homes on brownfield sites at Tower Works, Round Foundry, Low Fold and Sweet Street. The 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. And a new campus for Leeds College of Building has also opened at Black Bull Street.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s decision-making executive board on Wednesday, councillors will 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 for major infrastructure in the area once the HS2 high-speed rail station location is decided.

Leeds City Council’s 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.”