UK’s largest new city centre green space to be created in Leeds


LEEDS City Council has secured more than £18m from the government’s Getting Building Fund to deliver three regeneration projects that will boost economic growth and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, help to tackle climate change, and improve residents’ well-being.

The council will receive a total of £18.604 million from the fund, as part of a successful £52.6 million bid made to government by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, on behalf of the region and its five local authorities.

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, commented on the announcement: “We are delighted to receive this funding as it will allow us to press ahead with three shovel-ready schemes in Leeds.

“These are all projects that will help reduce our city’s carbon impact and help the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Securing this funding shows how quickly the council and the city can respond when the right financial support becomes available.”

The fund will support:

  • City Park – £8.6 million to transform road space in the South Bank area of the city into new green space and improved public realm as part of one of Europe’s largest regeneration programmes.

The work will involve transforming road space at Meadow Lane and Crown Point Road into green space for pedestrians and active travel.

This includes the closure of two pay-and-display car parks and conversion of 50,000 sq ft of highway land.

It will enable ‘attractive and safe’ bus, pedestrian and cycling connections through South Bank to an improved public space around the Corn Exchange and form part of the new City Park – the largest new city centre green space in the UK, which will be delivered by Vastint and the Council at the former Tetley Brewery site.

The funding will help to enable the majority of the park to be complete ahead of the Leeds 2023 international cultural festival.

The funding will also support installation of a new River Aire footbridge from Sovereign Square linking the park to Leeds Station.

The changes will improve access to the city centre for residents in surrounding neighbourhoods, visitors to Leeds as well as the 10,000 students who learn in South Bank’s school and colleges each day.

Along with reduced carbon emissions and creation of people-friendly spaces, the project will also help accelerate new development, with as many as 1,400 homes and 5,000 new jobs expected to follow through related schemes, playing a key role in the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Temple Green Park and Ride expansion – £7.4 million will be used to create 400 additional spaces at the facility in east Leeds, helping to reduce air pollution and congestion in the city centre. The Park and Ride was operating at almost full capacity prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and last year the council had previously agreed to purchase land around the existing site.

Extending the Park and Ride site will encourage more people to travel into the city centre by bus, with these services using the improved infrastructure on Meadow Lane.

  • Holbeck Victorian Terrace Improvements – £2.604 million will be used to improve older terraced homes in the Holbeck area of the city through measures such as new roofing, doors and windows, along with external wall insulation, which will improve the energy efficiency of properties, and help to reduce residents’ fuel bills.

A previous phase of this work led to 153 houses benefiting from the improvements, and the new funding is expected to enable a further 100 homes reach the same standards.

The funding will also support ongoing partnership work in the area to support people to access jobs, educational opportunities, healthcare and financial assistance by directly engaging with residents throughout the project’s lifespan.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, added: “The 15 projects that were put forward to receive funding are integral to West Yorkshire’s economic recovery plan and will ensure the benefits are felt across a wide range of communities and economic sectors.

“The projects focus on areas vital to a successful, and inclusive recovery, such as regenerating our towns and cities, support for business investment and jobs growth as well as opening up new walking and cycling routes.”

Start dates are expected to be announced soon, with all works due to be complete by 2022.