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Leeds Development Wins National Award

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08 Apr 2015

Kirkstall Forge secured the coveted Placemaking Award for best mixed-use development and two commendations for Placemaking Team of the Year and Placemaking in Northern England at the award ceremony in London.

The development is set to become home to a thriving mixed community of more than 1,000 family homes, 420,000 sq ft of office space, a new railway station, shops, restaurants, a school, gym, crèche and other leisure facilities.

Entered by Commercial Estates Group, the judges said they loved the scheme’s scale, ambition, partnership and environmental values. The high profile awards are judged by a mixture of high profile planners, urban designers, housebuilders, regeneration companies, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust and English Heritage, recognising excellence in the planning and delivery of place making initiatives across the country.

Jon Kenny, Director of CEG, commented: “Winning this award is testament to the hard work the team has put in to deliver one of the ambitious schemes in Leeds’ development pipeline.

“We have worked closely with Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, to ensure that we can deliver a railway station at the site, connecting this new development to the city centre in just six minutes. It means we can offer something very special and unique at Kirkstall Forge; with fantastic new facilities offering a city centre lifestyle in a stunning riverside, woodland location.”  

The 21st Century Urban village has been masterplanned by Feilden Clegg Bradley on behalf of developer, Commercial Estates Group (CEG). Planning permission was secured in April 2014 and work commenced last year with the railway station set to open in October 2015.

The project will deliver approximately 2,400 new jobs in the office space, leisure and retail facilities. It will have a significant and long-lasting positive impact on the environmental quality of this site, as well as the social and economic well-being of the wider community with the £10m investment into education and community provision in the local area. It will also attract a £7.5 million New Homes Bonus and £5million additional spend/year in local shops from new residents.

From the outset, the process followed has emphasised the importance of community engagement and high quality, locally responsive design, with extensive input from residents and stakeholders. The placemaking follows nearby Saltaire’s lead; combining dwellings, businesses, shops and green spaces around the River Aire to create an attractive 21st Century Urban Village with a thriving economic ecosystem.

The design also embraces the heritage of the site; the medieval Mill Race will be reopened to provide new ecological and landscape resource. The archaeological legacy of the ancient forge, the 1820’s obelisk and worker’s cottages and stables are being preserved and brought back into use. The ancient forge will be exposed to show the machinery and water wheels as a focus for the public realm and central hub complete with shops, cafes and leisure facilities with stepped courts and gardens leading to the river.

The leisure and recreation facilities, as well as vast amounts of new green and open space will be easily accessible to current residents in the area as well as the new residents and workers on site.