‘We want to bring families to Leeds city centre’

FUTURE: Next generation family homes from Citu.
FUTURE: Next generation family homes from Citu.
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Blending the long-standing and thriving communities of Leeds with the hundreds of new homes that are set to be built over the coming years are another of the council’s biggest housing challenges.

Further to the Yorkshire Evening Post’s revelation that Leeds is ten times behind Manchester in the rate of building and questions are being asked over its target market, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning has given his take on the system in the city.

Cllr Richard Lewis said: “It tends to be these student schemes and the such like but that is the nature of land values. Nobody will build an estate of semis near the arena and that is the history of Leeds ten years ago and before the boom.

“They were more ambitious and if you want a development that sums up money it is Bridgewater Place - how much can you make out of a site and you end up with one of the ugliest buildings in Leeds.”

But he said the council were trying to “hold the hands” of developers and encourage alternative schemes such as Citu, 500 plus family homes on the South Bank and the mixed use development at Hunslet Mills.

“We are very much about bringing families back and there are so many advantages but it is a long term project. It is going to be the pioneers that push that forward, but that is the kind of development we want so see. Once we get some to make it work - the others will follow”, he added.

There needs to be the infrastructure around these new developments such as schools but also collaboration between communities.

Cllr Lewis said: “The challenge is how do we connect these and mix new and communities that have existed for hundreds of years or more where people already live?”