Council leaders in Leeds set out ambitious proposals to double size of city

Council leaders in Leeds have announced transformative plans for the city with ambitions to double its size by developing 16,500 new homes and creating of 35,000 local jobs.

Representatives from Leeds City Council outlined their plans for housing growth in the city today at the MIPIM real estate expo in Cannes. The expansion of the city centre and proposals for the country’s largest sustainable housing development were at the centre of the announcement which looks to show how Leeds will continue to attract investment and be a thriving place to live.

Key to the city’s housing growth will be the regeneration of South Bank Leeds, home to the proposed HS2 integrated station, where 235 hectares of land have been earmarked for development. The area will see the proposed construction of 8,000 new homes to double the size and economic output of the city centre.

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, also revealed how the council in addition to delivering new homes, is aiming for 20% of these to be affordable, through key worker, shared ownership and affordability schemes.

Speaking about the announcement, Blake added: “This is an exciting time for residential development in Leeds, as we progress with more than 40 diverse residential projects, with 60 sites identified for future growth, as we target the delivery of 16,500 new homes across the city centre. Leeds has always enjoyed its reputation as an innovator in the region, and the residential market is no exception. Through pioneering partnerships, Leeds is likely to become home to Yorkshire’s tallest residential building and the UK’s largest sustainable housing development in the coming years.”

MIPIM delegates also got to hear about Leeds' ambitions to embrace a high-rise approach to urban living. The work, which would be undertaken by construction company CEG, would see "Yorkshire’s tallest residential building” built, at a projected cost of £350m. The mix-use redevelopment would consist of up to 750 new homes, offices, shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.

Jon Kenny, development director at CEG, said: “This is a derelict site where we can deliver a vibrant mixed-use strategic development of a critical mass and international quality that can enable this regeneration area to become a true gateway into the city, reconnecting local communities. CEG has a long legacy of investing in Leeds and is on site delivering a ground breaking £400million development at Kirkstall Forge. Here, a new railway station has already opened, paving the way for 1,050 new homes and 400,000 sq ft of commercial, retail, leisure and community space in this unique wooded, riverside site.”

Council bosses were keen to emphasise the importance of prioritising environmental sustainability as part of its ambitious residential proposals. Its representatives at MIPIM explained how Citu’s Climate Innovation District, where sustainable houses will be built, will be according to Scandinavian-inspired design standards and provide long-term environmental benefits both for residents and the city.

A ground-breaking district heating network installed by Vital Energi will also see heat produced by the council’s Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF). It’s claimed the network will reduce the fuel bills of Leeds’ most vulnerable residents by approximately 10%, through more efficient and controllable heating.

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