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What is South Bank Leeds?

South Bank Leeds is a massive regeneration project aiming to double the size of Leeds city centre by transforming the ex-industrial area south of the River Aire. This 253-hectare space is the size of 350 football pitches and will be transformed into a ‘globally distinctive’ destination for living, learning, creativity, leisure and investment.
According to the South Bank Leeds Regeneration Framework Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), 8,000 new homes and 35,000 new jobs are due to be created as part of this effort to make Leeds a standout city in the UK.

What’s Happening on the South Bank Leeds?

South Bank Leeds has been a home for major companies from ASDA Walmart’s European headquarters and to SKY, for many years. Currently, there are 3,000 people living on the South Bank, alongside over 250 businesses.
Thanks to over £500m of announced investment in what is one of Europe’s biggest ever regeneration projects, Leeds is set to become even more prosperous.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the key initiatives:

  • The acquisition of the Holbeck Portfolio Sites by the Commercial Estate Group, along with major proposals for a mixed-use development at this key strategic location
  • Work to repair Hunslet Mill and Victoria Works progressing on site
  • Vastint’s mixed-use development proposals for the 22 acre Tetley Brewery Site including a City Park, their second investment in the UK and the first outside London
  • Planning permission granted for over 1,000 new homes at Tower Works, Iron Works and Dandara with an increase in applications for 3 bedroom plus units
  • City’s proposals for a £125m Climate Innovation District
  • A further phase of development for Leeds College of Building in the area
  • The new HS2 station will be combined with the Leeds train station and is set to welcome more passengers than Gatwick airport

South Bank Leeds is a historic area, which contains echoes of the city’s industrial past in its abandoned buildings and old warehouses, particularly in the Holbeck area. This industrial area boasted a strong, enduring sense of community in the 19th century, and the project South Bank development intends to reconnect these historic suburbs with Leeds City Centre once again to create a harmonious whole.

At the heart of the Leeds South Bank development, a brand-new skyscraper will transform the city’s skyline. Forty storeys high and 142 metres tall, it will take the mantel of the tallest building in Leeds from Bridgewater Place.

Plans have also been submitted to build 928 new residential properties in a sub-project called X1. The houses will be built on the old Evans Halshaw site off the A61, at a cost of more than £200 million. Comprising five separate buildings, each equipped with individual gyms and gardens, the development will also boast cafes, restaurants, offices and shops.

City living will be more in demand than ever, thanks to various developments within the South Bank Leeds area. For example, Arthur’s Fold boasts 101 brand-new apartments, with a mix of high-spec one and two-bedroom units. It also has the added extras that are a prerequisite for urban living – a gym, lounge and cinema for residents. Prices for the apartments start at £122,500, a clear indication of the sheer value for money investors can expect.

High Speed Rail 2 and transport

Special mention should be given to the High-Speed Rail 2 (HS2) initiatives, alongside the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail, which are due to transform connectivity in the Northern Regions and between the North, Midlands and the South. By 2050, it is estimated that HS2 will have created more than 40,000 new jobs, boosting the regional economy by at least £54 billion.

Leeds trains station is already the busiest in the North of England, but the above projects are forecasted to increase growth by a massive 143% growth. A particular regeneration focus is therefore earmarked around the station area to transform it into a thoroughly modern and thriving transport hub. The new station will be the busiest in the north of England, welcoming more passengers than Gatwick airport.

There are enormous benefits to the planned investment in rail will, including bringing people together; bringing new markets within reach; enabling innovation; bringing new talent to employers and, for new jobs to be within reach of people.

Why not be one of those who invested in this revolutionary project in Leeds?

Mill Conversion, LeedsSo far, you have learned a lot about the development of Leeds South Bank and property investment opportunities.
If you’re interested in buying property in Leeds, take a look at what Award-Winning Agency has prepared for you, with a special focus on Mill Conversion, the unique Riverside location with just 17 large two-bed apartments available in the building that combines classic industrial design with modern architecture.

The 10 key areas of the Leeds South Bank project

You can find out very detailed information from the informative South Bank Leeds Regeneration Framework. One key section of the framework is the focus on 10 key ‘areas of movement’ – the main aspects of the overarching South Bank initiative. We’ll break them down here so you can get a sense of the whole picture.

1. Connecting the green & blue network

By placing the River Aire as a new centre of Leeds, more people will benefit from access to a new, green network. The riverbank will be open and accessible as it becomes a leisure destination for people of all ages to enjoy using best practice in sustainable design.

2. A legible & accessible public transport network

Public transport needs to be prioritised and able to provide access to all areas of the city, supported by a safe, comfortable and attractive pedestrian core spanning the river, and which will complement the existing Public Transport Box.

3. Create a rationalised & distributed road hierarchy

Traffic will be encouraged to move around the city centre rather than through it. The Inner Ring Road will have the greatest volume of traffic, while a proposed City Boulevard will accommodate slower-moving vehicles, prioritising pedestrians and cyclists in a pleasant and safe environment.

South Bank Leeds - The Inner Ring Road

4. Improve access beyond the Inner Ring Road

Improved links across the Inner Ring Road between South Bank and the neighbourhoods of Holbeck, Beeston, Hunslet, Cross Green and Saxton Gardens will allow greater freedom of movement, better social and cultural integration, and improved access to services and amenities.

5. Implement a sustainable public transport and parking strategy

Increase the use of sustainable forms of transport through appropriate infrastructure and use of demand management to ensure development takes place in locations that are easily accessible by a variety of sustainable transport modes.

6. Activate the waterfront

Recaptures its role as a focus of activity, with quality public space and new attractions. It is connected to surrounding neighbourhoods by the strategic green network.
By placing the River Aire as a new centre of Leeds, more people will benefit from access to a new, green network. The riverbank will be open and accessible as it becomes a leisure destination.

Roberts Wharf, River Aire

Image credit: David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0) via

7. Adapt heritage & link existing assets

There is an opportunity to strengthen the identity of the South Bank through the adaptation and reuse of heritage buildings together with the integration of adjacent assets.

8. Create and revitalise centres

Creation of a pedestrian core spanning the river (complementing the existing Public Transport Box) which is served by high-quality public transport to connect to both the HS2 station and South Bank to the rest of the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods.

9. Improve resilience & sustainability

Innovative ideas to mitigate the potential implications of floods, including potential flood channels.

10. Utilise culture to help placemaking

Culture to be celebrated and an integral part of the approach to placemaking in the Leeds South Bank development.

Wrapping up

Leeds South Bank is a staggering regeneration project; it is a truly unique project to revolutionise such a large segment of a city.

This year the ambition of the South Bank development project has been recognised by being shortlisted for the 2020 Urbanism ‘The Great Neighbourhood’ Award, celebrating the best neighbourhood environments in Europe. We think that this is one of Europe’s most significant regeneration projects and is a clear winner. There’s no doubt that Leeds’ identity is being reimagined for the 21st century, but we’re also excited that the industrial heritage of the city is being retained throughout these changes.

South Bank Leeds development project particularly offers profitable investment opportunities for property owners and entrepreneurs, as well as landlords. Rental yields remain higher than in other areas of the UK, particularly the southeast. And with Leeds aiming to become the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, investors will be keen to get in ahead of the curve.

Doubling the economic impact of Leeds city-centre will further cement the city as a major player in the UK’s economy.


There’s no denying now is a great time to invest in a property in Leeds. Get in touch and we’ll help you find the ideal property and location. At Aspen Woolf, we have a number of developments in Leeds – the number 1 forecast city in the UK for house price and rental growth.

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