Leeds city council have major plans to help realise their vision of a Leeds South Bank and high-speed rail regeneration by launching a new bid for Government funding next month, which may trigger a new city centre housing boom.
Council executives have signed off on permission for the preparation of a comprehensive and detailed business plan for a “significant” cash pot from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is hoped will help “unlock” and “uplift” housing and other wider economic growth opportunities across Leeds.
The council believe the funding will help entice and win over developers to their plans, and successfully set up the city for the arrival of the HS2 high-speed rail project, which is set to bring a significant financial, economic and tourist boost to the city by the time it launches in 2032.
It’s part of a wider plan to rejuvenate areas of Leeds south of the river, which have seen lower levels of investment compared to other parts of the city centre.
A report recently approved by City Development director Martin Farrington said that the council is keen to develop proposals to “unlock and accelerate growth in the city centre housing market” as there are now “a range of residential sites and investment opportunities in the city centre requiring final stimulus and developer confidence to convert to commitment”.
The council have also identified a need for further work on the land parcels outside the immediate South Bank area, at the “city fringes”, to scope out and establish more investment and regeneration opportunities, the report says. It’s all part of plans to “assist the city centre and city centre rim in becoming an area of much more rapid housing growth”, the report reads.
The so-called South Bank masterplan includes the redevelopment of an astonishing 137 hectares of land, stretching from Holbeck Urban Village to Leeds Dock – an area which has already seen vast investment – and represents one of the largest and most ambitious city centre regeneration initiatives in Europe.
Housing is at the very core of the plan, with around 4,000 new homes expected to be drawn into the final blueprint. That would represent a significant investment in housing stock, but there’s no mention of whether these homes would be sold under the Affordable Housing scheme.
The area that the council are most keen to regenerate have traditionally been of a more working-class nature, and those areas presently feature some of the lowest priced housing in Leeds. So, whilst improving facilities and inviting business investment into the area is vital, ensuing that the properties are affordable is equally as important for the community.
The council is currently developing its ‘Leeds Living’ prospectus, which will lay out in detail their plan to “build investor/developer confidence and galvanise a city centre housing boom of both “scale and quality”.
We’ve reached out for more detail regarding their housing plans, and will update this article when we receive comment.