Leeds Chamber Property Forum today launches a new report looking into the commercial, economic and social opportunities a vibrant waterfront can bring to the city. The report, entitled “Leeds: A Waterfront City”, puts forward the premise that with the development of South Bank Leeds, the waterfront stops being the southern boundary and instead moves to be right at the heart of the city centre.
Leeds has seen enormous transformation over the last twenty five years, off the back of booming office, retail and leisure sectors. Most of this activity has been focused to the north of the River Aire and has included restoration and renovation of many of the city’s former Victorian warehouses and mills. For many generations the waterfront has effectively been screened off from the rest of the city centre and remains largely invisible.
Tim Waring, Director at planning consultants Quod and lead for the Chamber’s Waterfront Report said, “During the city’s industrial heyday, Leeds Waterfront played an important role in trade coming into and out of the region. The legacy from this era is one of fantastic architecture but with limited access to the river in places. Further development during the 1980s and 90s also saw properties paying only limited acknowledgement to the waterfront. The Chamber are very keen to see a new focus on the waterfront, it being a key link between the emerging developments south of the city centre and the existing commercial area.
The Chamber is therefore calling for the creation of a Waterfront District which will provide
- Accessibility, improving movement across, around and along the waterfront.
- Attraction, addressing environmental, public safety and cleanliness issues.
- Activity which animates both the waterfront and waterway, and makes it a place where people want to be
Future development within South Bank Leeds, Holbeck, the New West End, Quarry Hill, Leeds Innovation District along with the redevelopment of Leeds Station are all hugely positive and reflect the confidence the City is now projecting to the world. It is important we make the most of Leeds Waterfront becoming the heart of what is fast becoming a thriving business district.”
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:
“We welcome this report from the Leeds Chamber Property Forum and very much endorse the idea of creating a Leeds Waterfront District. The waterfront area of the city centre has enormous potential as an attractive location for people to live, work and visit and for businesses to invest and base themselves. With the exciting developments offered by the South Bank and the remodelled Leeds Station as a major landmark location in its own right, plus the reassurance for the city centre provided by the completion of phase one of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme later this year, the interest in the waterfront district in the years to come will be higher than ever and represents a perfect opportunity to further enhance Leeds’ reputation as the best city in the UK.”
To download the report please click here.