YEP Says: Flats boom must make our Leeds a home for all ages

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Leeds is is attracting more people than ever to work, rest and play.

The city centre’s s population more than doubled between 2001 and 2011, from 12,265 in 2001 to 26,020 a decade later.

Critically, the number of 20-to-29-year-olds, has soared from 4,756 to 13,187 – an eye-watering increase of 177 per cent.

To ensure our economy continues to grow apace, we need to ensure it remains an attractive proposition. And we need to make sure our city centre is a home for all, not just the young.

Experts believe the city’s current economic standing of £21bn is set to soar by almost a billion pounds a year over the next half decade, thanks to new developments such as the First Direct Arena and Trinity Leeds, which have significantly boosted the economy and provided thousands of jobs.

Graham Bates, CEO of lettings agent LIV predicts projects delivering 3,500 flats in the next three to four years; and that the city centre’s 11,000 flats could grow to 20,000 within the next seven years.

This boom in the so-called build-to-rent sector should be welcomed - on the understanding that the focus is on building affordable, attractive accommodation with supporting amenities suitable for families and older generations too.

Lifestyles for all are changing.

A semi in the suburbs is not an automatic option any more.

Our city centre is a thriving, buzzing retail and business hub; we need to build it into a welcoming home too.