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The future of one of Europe’s largest city centre regeneration

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18 Mar 2016

The future of one of Europe’s largest city centre regeneration sites was the topic of international discussion as Leeds City Council offered a first look at its strategy and masterplan for South Bank Leeds during MIPIM 2016.

Speaking at Leeds City Region’s ‘Transport Led Transformation’ breakfast panel, the chief executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan launched the council’s call for ideas around South Bank Leeds.

Tom Riordan said:

 “This is not a traditional call for evidence but a call for ideas. Through the new South Bank web portal, we want to seek the ideas of all partners, including the communities within the area and other interested groups, to ensure we develop a plan for the South Bank which will stand the test of time and meet the needs not just for the next decade but for the next century.

“The last 12 months has seen the South Bank blossom as an opportunity for Leeds, but the opportunity is not just for the city but also the wider city region. At 136 hectares, an area roughly the same size as Edinburgh’s New Town, it offers the opportunity for us to create a new urban landscape and we have aspirations to make it the exemplar of 21st city design.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake said:

“Currently Leeds Station has as a similar number of passengers as London Kings Cross and is one of the busiest stations outside London. By the time the HS2 station is completed it will have as many passengers as Gatwick airport, making the station a national and international gateway.

“Through our masterplan, we hope that it becomes clear that high speed rail can be a real catalyst for growth.  The arrival of HS2 in Leeds is generating real interest and it is vital that we continue to use the momentum from this, and from the announcements from big businesses including Vastint, the property arm of the Ikea Group, Allied London at Leeds Dock, SKY, Burberry and the acquisitions and planning submissions of developers including CEG, Caddicks and Carillon; to continue the South Bank’s transformation.”

At the panel, the council also confirmed that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with London and Continental Railways to help deliver regeneration associated with HS2. London and Continental Railways is a wholly UK Government-owned company which specialise in railway led regeneration, delivering schemes for HS1 at St Pancreas and Ebbsfleet. The Council and London and Continental Railways collaboration will focus on delivery of regeneration associated with HS2, including exploring funding models, land assembly and inward investment.

Ben Still, Managing Director of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said:

“The combined HS2 Leeds Station creates an opportunity of global significance not just to South Bank or Leeds but for the whole City Region. It will not only connect with key places both in the City Region and the country but will also become the go to destination in the north.”

Alongside Tom Riordan, the breakfast panel also featured representatives from across the private sector including, Paul Hirst from Addleshaw Goddard, Malcolm Smith from ARUP and Jon Kenny from CEG, all of whom are involved in South Bank. Dale Robinson of Bilfinger GVA also took to the panel to explore the effect that the arrival of HS2 will have upon the land values, property investment yields and rental prices within the South Bank and the wider city centre.

To find out more information about the South Bank Leeds and the city council’s masterplan visit the newly launched website www.southbankleeds.co.uk.