Want the inside track on the big changes coming to Leeds over the next few years? Look no further…
In March, the world came to a standstill. Or so it seemed. But in the background, work continued on these major projects. Once complete, they’ll have a transformational impact on Leeds, edging us ever closer to our ambition of becoming a global destination. From the skyscraper that’s set to become the tallest building in Yorkshire to the two world-class gateways that will welcome people into the city, this is the future of Leeds.
The two game-changing hospitals at Leeds General Infirmary
Leeds Teaching Hospitals have revealed plans to transform healthcare in the city. They’re going to build two new hospitals over the next ten years as part of their new Hospitals of the Future campaign. It represents a £450 million investment in Leeds.
The first will expand its critical care services for adults, add a high-tech radiology department and increase the number of state-of-the-art theatres. The second will become a dedicated children’s hospital that will bring the children’s services into a single purpose-built facility for the first time. It will offer a hospital care experience for kids like Leeds has never had before as they bring together family-friendly surroundings with cutting edge technology.
The opening of Leeds Studios
Following the arrival of Channel 4, demand is high in Leeds for proper studio space. So it’s the perfect time for the arrival of Leeds Studios, a major film and TV studio complex, which will open in the old Polestar Petty warehouses on Whitehall Road by the end of 2020.
Kirkstall’s Prime Studios and Manchester’s All Studios have joined forces to create a world-class space for high-end film and TV production. The £7.5 million project will include five state-of-the-art sound stages, which range from 16,000 to 30,000 square foot in size. But it’s not just studios – there will also be 55,000 square foot of production space.
The transformation of The Headrow
The Headrow is a major route in and out of Leeds city centre, so its £20.7 million makeover is a big deal. It’s part of the wider £174 million project to upgrade public transport and improve the public realm across the city. They’re removing the central reservation, adding cycle lanes and changing road layouts to reduce congestion and increase bus reliability.
The area’s going to look very different too. From new bus shelters to pedestrian crossings, they’re creating a world-class gateway into the city. One of the project’s most exciting features is the creation of two new public spaces on Cookridge Street and New Briggate, bringing European-style alfresco cafe culture to Leeds. It’s due to be completed by the end of 2020.
The new British Library of the North
The British Library already has a base in Leeds, at the research and archive facility at Boston Spa, but now they’re going on step further by opening The British Library of the North here. If all goes to plan, they’ll transform the Temple Works site in Holbeck into a major new public space and save the historic Grade I-listed building from dereliction.
It comes off the back of a £25 million cash injection from the government. They’re working closely with Leeds City Council and property developers CEG to finalise plans for Temple Works, while also giving their Boston Spa branch a high-tech redevelopment to make it fit for the 21st century.
The green walkway in the heart of the city
New York has one, Paris has one and now Leeds is getting one. That’s right, we’ll soon have our own garden walkway. Plans have been approved to turn the viaduct on the old Doncaster Monkbridge site into a leafy garden walkway 25-feet above the ground. This new attraction will help to boost connectivity across the city by linking the South Bank to the West End.
The pedestrian walkway will be about the same size as Briggate and will feature a series of leisure units in the arches below. Expect a host of new shops, bars and restaurants as part of a wider mixed-use development surrounding the viaduct. It will have five skyline-altering apartment buildings, ranging from 11 to 21 storeys, they will add 357 flats to the city centre and create a thriving new community.
The city centre park on the old Tetley Brewery
There’s a five-acre city centre park at the heart of Vastint’s big plans for the old Tetley’s Brewery site. It will stretch from the banks of the River Aire to Crown Point Road, with a new bridge between Sovereign Square and Leeds Station. Once finished, it will provide a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and create a new outdoor event space.
It’s part of a £155 million project that includes 850 new homes, as well as 85,000 square metres of office space, 15,000 square metres of leisure space a new 400-bed hotel. As part of the project, they’re going to restore the Crown Hotel to its former glory as a pub for the local community.
The transformation of the Northern Civic Quarter
At the start of 2020, planning permission was granted for the £62 million Northern Civic Quarter near Millennium Square. The sympathetic transformation of three former Leeds City Council buildings is at the heart of the plans which include considerable public realm improvements.
The Leonardo and Thoresby buildings, formerly a Victorian school and printworks, will offer 54,000 square foot of office space. Meanwhile, the former Leeds Central High School building on Great George Street, will be transformed into a 173-bed premium lifestyle hotel, and it will sit next to a separate, new-build hotel which will have 166 rooms and a family friendly public space.
The emergence of the Temple District
The development of the South Bank continues apace with the new Temple District. CEG have created a masterplan for the area that straddles Water Lane and Globe Road in Holbeck. It includes series of new office and residential buildings, as well as improvements to the public realm.
There’s detailed planning permission for the project’s first two phases, which will create two buildings with 176,000 square foot of office space alongside ground-floor retail and leisure units. But that’s just a drop in the ocean, because they’re seeking planning permission for a further 1.1 million square foot of offices, flats, shops, hotels and restaurants, which could be a game-changer for the area.
The UK’s first National Poetry Centre
Earlier this year, Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage was named as the UK Poet Laureate and one of his first duties was to reveal plans for the country’s first ever National Poetry Centre. He’s working with Leeds City Council, the University of Leeds and Leeds 2023 to identify a site, secure funding and open by 2023.
Once finished, the centre will bring poetry in-line with national arts like opera and ballet, and put Leeds right at the heart of the ongoing resurgence of British poetry. It will be a place where poets can perform readings, showcase their work and hone their skills, as well as offering a resource centre where anyone can buy or borrow books.
The new tallest building in Yorkshire
At 142 metres, Two Springwell Gardens is set to knock Bridgewater Place off its pedestal and take the title of the tallest building in Yorkshire. Developers Citylife are going to transform the cityscape with this 46-storey tower, which will come in at a cool £175 million by time it’s finished in 2022.
Once complete, it will create 604 flats, including four duplex penthouses with their own private terraces offering incredible views across the city. It will have communal gardens across the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 33rd floors – expect an outdoors-indoors vibe with lush greenery all around you and floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy those views. And on the ground floor? Oodles of retail and leisure space awaits.
The major plans to transform a chunk of Leeds city centre
The Corn Exchange is at the heart of a £21 million project to create a world-class gateway into Leeds. They’re pedestrianising Call Lane all the way from The Calls to the Corn Exchange, creating two new public spaces. The first will wrap around the Leeds landmark, doubling the space outside, while the second will transform the lower half of Call Lane into an alfresco dining destination.
But that’s just the beginning because the improvements will stretch from York Street in the city centre to Meadow Lane on the South Bank. Bus routes are being improved to reduce congestion and delays, Lower Briggate will adopt a new two-way system and the dual carriageway on Meadow Lane will be cut down to a single carriageway making way for the new city centre park.