Aerial view of Leeds

The changing shape of Leeds

Savills is involved in one of the largest regeneration schemes in Leeds city centre at Wellington Place, a new 22-acre urban quarter including offices, residential, retail and leisure space.

Once complete, the Wellington Place development will provide well over 1,000,000 sq ft of new office floor space in the city centre delivered through a visioned masterplan that has quality placemaking at its centre. The site has now been selected for the new Government Hub, bringing 6,000 civil servants to Leeds, working in state-of-the-art new premises in the heart of the city’s West End.

This is just one of the major new developments taking place in Leeds. Others include the First Direct Arena and the Trinity and Victoria Gate Shopping Centres. But what next for Leeds? Will it see further transformative development to become the global city it aspires to be?

The city centre is going through a truly transformational phase with big projects planned, including the regeneration of the South Bank area of Leeds, which will double the size of the city centre with a proposal to provide 35,000 jobs and 4,000 new homes, a new train station to align with the arrival of HS2, and the emergence of the Innovation District including £500m worth of investment from the University of Leeds. Aligned with bids for European Capital of Culture in 2023 and for Channel 4’s new home, the future looks bright.

However, with question marks over the ability to deliver a Leeds City Region or pan-Yorkshire regional devolution deal, no elected mayor, the failure to deliver a mass-rapid transit system following the demise of the ill-fated trolleybus scheme and the absence of a significant residential development coming forward in the city centre, there are challenging times ahead.

Comparisons are often drawn with Manchester which has raced ahead with its regeneration, devolved power status and prominent global profile through its two Premier League football clubs. However, Leeds is evolving its own model with some fantastic new developments and placemaking coupled with a new focus on the emerging areas on the South Bank and Innovation District which provides a platform for the city centre to flourish.

In order to move forward and realise its global aspirations, the city will need the necessary policies and governance in place to speed up the pace of change.

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