More greenery in the city

With the economic crisis still looming, new city regeneration plans may seem unlikely. However, the current climate may at least represent an opportunity to take stock on the future direction of the city and to ensure that any new developments are focused on long-term sustainability.

With that in mind, Leeds City Council has announced plans for a huge regeneration project covering the southern edge of the city centre. The targeted zone, which spans a large area of Victoria Road, the Tetley Brewery, Crown Point Road, Sovereign Street and part of the River Aire, has the potential to be a fantastic new development for what councillors refer to as the "gateway" to the city. Encouragingly, the rejuvenation plans for the area aim to enrich all aspects of city life, be it work and home life or for people who are visiting the city.

A new city centre park is what council officials are proposing, with an expanse of green space to improve the attractiveness of the area. Councillors intend for the park to increase the influx of visitors to Leeds and subsequently generate demand for new businesses, with the estimate that over 20,000 new jobs could be created. The regeneration aims to add perks to the lives of city centre residents – not least the fact that a luscious green space would no doubt be a bonus for city dwellers as a space of tranquillity aside from the hustle and bustle of a busy city centre, but without the need to head out to the suburbs.

Aside from the money-making aspects of the plans, the city centre park would bring obvious environmental benefits. The proposal is part of a long-term vision for Leeds, and the proposed project would also help to combat flood risk, according to a council report. As council leader Keith Wakefield states, the regeneration plans could serve as a “catalyst” for the future development of the city and for improved links between the south bank and the city centre.

If the plans are agreed by the council's executive board, the next stage is a three month public consultation in regards to all aspects of the regeneration proposal. If given the go-ahead, the final planning statement would then be agreed at a later date this year. With councillors wanting the development to rival the best parks in Europe, the city has got its work cut out. However, with scenic landscapes, more jobs, a busier city and plans for Leeds to cement its place as a regional capital, the city’s future is certainly looking bright - and a whole lot greener.

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