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What is South Bank Leeds?

South Bank Leeds is a regeneration project aiming to double the size of Leeds city centre. Essentially, it will transform the ex-industrial area south of the River Aire. Which is a 253-hectare space the size of 350 football pitches. And, likewise, turn it into a globally distinctive destination for living, learning, creativity, leisure and investment.

In this article, we take a look at what the South Bank project means for Leeds. Also, some of the key investments transforming the city and how the area will provide better connections across the city. Read on to find out more about the Leeds South Bank project.

Where is South Bank Leeds Located?

“South Bank”, on the whole, refers to investments and activities aimed at regenerating land south of the River Aire. South Bank Leeds is a historic area, which contains echoes of the city’s industrial past. Especially in its abandoned buildings and old warehouses, particularly in the Holbeck area. 

The Holbeck industrial area boasted a strong, enduring sense of community in the 19th century, and the South Bank development project intends to reconnect these historic suburbs with Leeds City Centre once again to create a harmonious whole.

South Bank Leeds: One of Europe’s Biggest Regeneration Programmes

As Leeds’ city centre grows originally Southwards, the South Bank region certainly takes centre stage. 

As one of Europe’s biggest regeneration projects, the £500m South Bank initiative (a record level of investment) is expected to double the size of Leeds city centre. 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.

Leeds South Bank Regeneration

What are the key South Bank Initiatives Over the Next Decade?

Over the next 10 years a number of projects are in place and set to transform the South Bank area:

  • Holbeck Portfolio Sites

The acquisition of the Holbeck Portfolio Sites by the Commercial Estate Group includes proposals for a mixed-use development at this key strategic location. The portfolio comprises seven separate plots in Holbeck Urban Village on the Leeds South Bank regeneration area and proposals include the creation of new housing development, including apartments, offices and commercial space.

  • The Historic Hunslet and Victoria Mills

The Hunslet Mill and Victoria Mills is a multi-storey complex of red brick mill buildings, one of the last and largest of Leeds’ former flax-spinning mills. Work to repair Hunslet Mill and Victoria Mills is progressing and the building’s conversion is underway as part of the Victoria Riverside development. After being derelict for more than 40 years, the ​​scheme is being converted into 350 apartments comprising a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units with panoramic views of the Leeds skyline. 

  • Vastint’s Mixed-Use Development 

Vastint acquired 8.1 hectares of land including the former Tetley Brewery site in Leeds South Bank and has submitted proposals for the 22 acre Tetley Brewery Site, which include a City Park and places to work, live and visit. 

  • Tower Works 

One of Leeds’ most significant heritage sites, Tower Works will drive two new residential buildings providing one, two and three-bedroom apartments to rent as well as office space. The former industrial site is situated on the Leeds-Liverpool canal in the Holbeck Urban Village Conservation Area.

  • Climate Innovation District

The £800m Climate Innovation District in Leeds is part of the South Bank Leeds regeneration plans and harnesses the latest technology to deliver low-carbon homes alongside manufacturing, leisure destinations and offices. In early 2022, developer, Citu, released a new wave of properties for purchase including apartments and 3 and 4-bed townhouses.

  • Leeds Dock

Leeds Dock is a major part of Leeds’ development and has been allocated significant investment. A number of media companies including Sky and digital and creative businesses are already located in the area and development plans include upgrading the retail and leisure offerings in the surrounds.

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What’s on Leeds South Bank?

  • Business Headquarters

Leeds South Bank is currency home to a number of UK headquarters. This includes 

ASDA, True North, Bloom Media and Elmwood, as well as regional headquarters of businesses like Eversheds, Ernst & Young and DWF.

  • Cultural Attractions

Leeds South Bank is the location of a number of popular cultural attractions. Some of these include, for instance, the Royal Armouries Museum and The Tetley. Which is a new centre for contemporary art and learning. The area is a rapidly growing hub for the city’s creative, digital and tech industries.

  • Sky Gardens

One of the most notable South Bank Projects is, of course,  Sky Gardens. To clarify, a 32-story, 101-metre high building set to dominate the skyline on Leeds’ South Bank. Due to open in 2024, Sky Gardens will become one of the tallest buildings in Yorkshire and the residential tower will offer the first all-year-round rooftop sky garden in Leeds with 360° views of the city. 

The development is being built on the original Midland Mills location, the previous site of a 200-year-old flax mill, a Grade II listed building. House prices in Leeds are predicted to rise 28 per cent by 2024 and Leeds is tipped to be one of the top cities for house price growth in the UK.

South Bank Leeds - The Inner Ring Road

Key Areas of the Leeds South Bank project

The regeneration strategy for Leeds South Bank includes movement and connection as one of the major themes. Alongside open space provision, a green city centre park, a city boulevard, station design and land use and massing. Movement and connection aims to ensure South Bank’s easy connection to the rest of Leeds and further afield and includes:

1. Connecting the Green and 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 a result, it will become a leisure destination for people of all ages to enjoy. Meanwhile, the plan is to use best practices in sustainable design.

2. Accessible Public Transport Network

Leeds South Bank will prioritise public transport towards providing access to all areas of the city. This is supported by a safe, comfortable and attractive pedestrian core spanning the river, which will complement the existing Public Transport Box.

3. A Rationalised and Distributed Road Hierarchy

Traffic will focus on moving around the city centre rather than through it. In the same way, the Inner Ring Road will have the greatest volume of traffic. Whereas a proposed City Boulevard will accommodate slower-moving vehicles. With the purpose of prioritising pedestrians and cyclists in a pleasant and safe environment.

4. South Bank Leeds – The Inner Ring Road

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

5. A Sustainable Public Transport and Parking Strategy

South Bank Leeds, in fact, aims to increase the use of sustainable forms of transport. Mainly through appropriate infrastructure and to ensure development takes place in locations that are easily accessible by a variety of sustainable transport modes.

Roberts Wharf, South Bank Leeds

Image credit: David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0) via geograph.org.uk/p/3480668

6. Activate the Waterfront

Leeds South Bank recaptures the waterfront’s role as a focus of activity. Which will, in addition, offer quality public space and new attractions. The strategic green network is connecting surrounding neighbourhoods.

7. Adapt Heritage Buildings

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

8. Create and Revitalise Centres

Creating a pedestrian core spanning the river will help connect the South Bank to the rest of the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods.

9. Improve resilience and Sustainability

South Bank will include innovative ideas. For example, ideas to mitigate the potential implications of floods, including potential flood channels.

10. Culture and Placemaking

The area will capitalise on the local community’s assets. Such as culture and creativity, and thus, make the South Bank project a vibrant and attractive hub.

To sum up,  as Leeds’ regeneration gets underway, South Bank Leeds is helping transform the centre. That is through a number of proposed investments and activities, many of which are already underway. 

New multi-use developments, public transport, including the road network, walking and cycling routes near the waterfront will be completely transformed. Likewise, the revitalisation of historic buildings with new amenities is bringing in residents and businesses to further boost Leeds’ liveability. To find out more about property investment opportunities in the South Bank, get in touch with our team.

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