Public consultation launched on ambitious vision for Leeds’s South Bank

Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake discusses the plans with Holly Bowman of Leeds Dock-based North Star Coffee Roasters.
Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake discusses the plans with Holly Bowman of Leeds Dock-based North Star Coffee Roasters.
Have your say

Council bosses have unveiled far-reaching plans that could double the size of Leeds city centre and make its South Bank area one of Europe’s most vibrant places to work, rest and play.

Leeds City Council’s vision for the South Bank includes the building of more than 4,000 homes and the creation of an education hub used by around 10,000 students.

It is also hoped that businesses will jump at the chance to be part of the South Bank revolution, helping to deliver more than 35,000 jobs.

A public consultation exercise was launched yesterday (Aug 15) on the council’s proposals for the area, which include:

* Redeveloping Leeds City Station as the Yorkshire Hub, a massive rail centre which would be capable of handling HS2 high-speed services;

* Making full use of the River Aire’s potential as a major leisure, events and recreation space;

* Creating six new pieces of public open space as well as a city centre park;

* Nurturing the growth of independent food, drink and retail outlets;

* Exploring the possibility of bringing landmark taller buildings and leisure destinations to the area.

Council leader Coun Judith Blake said today: “We are very pleased to be launching this public consultation as the next phase in the development of South Bank Leeds.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to transform an area of our city not only into a fantastic economic driver of jobs and growth but also an attractive place for people to live, learn, work and visit.

“It will also greatly enhance and expand the city centre so a major challenge is how to integrate developments in the South Bank with the surrounding communities and the wider city.

“We also need to make the most of high-speed rail and the tremendous opportunities provided by the redevelopment of Leeds Station.

“So I would encourage everyone to get involved and tell us what they think as in many ways South Bank is going to be a huge influence on the future direction of our city and the lives of thousands of people in Leeds and beyond.”

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

Firms such as Vastint, Burberry and Citu have already committed hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to the area.

Developer CEG is also aiming to transform more than five acres of South Bank land next to the Tower Works site in Holbeck into a mix of office buildings, apartments, bars and restaurants.

CEG director Jon Kenny said: “We are particularly keen to link the success of Leeds city centre to Holbeck and other neighbouring wards.

“Our development can provide a new gateway to the city from the south west, as well as improving links from Holbeck to the station and the city.”

In a report last month, the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said the South Bank had the potential to become a “location of true national and European significance”.

Referring to the part it could play in the country’s high-speed rail revolution with the creation of the Yorkshire Hub station, 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.”

The council’s South Bank consultation will run for three months and ends on November 15.

People wanting to take part can fill in a questionnaire accessible via the www.southbankleeds.co.uk website.

Drop-in sessions and workshops are also in the pipeline, with dates and locations to be confirmed shortly.

Residents keen to attend are asked to register their interest by e-mailing southbank@leeds.gov.uk.

The online conversation about the South Bank can be followed using the #southbankleeds hashtag.

Have you downloaded the free YEP app available on Android and iphone?