Kirkstall Forge on track for major regeneration with support from LEP

A major regeneration scheme and construction of a railway station at Kirkstall is set to forge ahead.

A new riverside community of affordable housing, office space and shopping and leisure facilities is planned for the former Kirkstall Forge site.

The proposals for the new station form part of a wider scheme to transform the historic site into a thriving family-friendly community with more than 1,000 new homes. It's estimated that the development will create around 2,400 new jobs. It will also bring about £400m of private sector investment and an estimated £5m per year in local retail spend.

Terms have been agreed between Leeds City Council, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the site owners, GMV Twelve Limited, to deliver the scheme with the final agreement due to be completed shortly.

GMV Twelve is investing £5million in the design and construction of the station, which is facilitated through a loan from the LEP. In addition, the council will spend approximately £10m to construct a new access road from the A65 to the station (including a road and pedestrian bridge over the River Aire) together with a temporary car park for 190 vehicles and a new road junction with traffic lights on the A65.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s submission for funding for the delivery of the two rail stations, at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge, was made to the Department of Transport at the start of April. The total scheme cost is £15.97m with over £9 million to be funded by the DfT and the remaining funding coming from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Commercial Estate Group (CEG), the agents for GMV Twelve.

CEG has already invested extensively in demolition and remediation works on the 56-acre former industrial site, and is set to provide a S106 package in excess of £10m for affordable housing, education, transport improvements and local community facilities.

The station and associated infrastructure is scheduled to be ready for use by August 2015. Leeds City Council has agreed to carry out the work necessary to construct the access road as well as a temporary car park. The council’s costs, together with the LEP’s loan, will be repaid by GMV Twelve over a ten year period.

Roger Marsh, Chair of the LEP, said:

“The LEP recognises the strategic importance of the Kirkstall Forge site to Leeds and the wider City Region boosting both transport links and creating jobs. We are delighted that our support will help to secure the future of the rail halt. This will be on terms which will ensure that there is no additional cost to the tax payer.”

Charles Johnson at CEG, said:

“We are very excited about the prospect of starting the Kirkstall Forge project. The loan provisions we have agreed with the LEP and Leeds City Council will ensure the delivery of the rail station and the wider scheme, which will ultimately deliver a sustainable mixture of new homes, jobs, leisure and community facilities on this major brownfield site.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy, said:

“Kirkstall Forge is a unique and very special development that offers a rare opportunity to create a thriving new mixed-use community on a brown field site in a lovely historical setting not far from the city centre.”

“We've worked very hard to reach an agreement with a number of partners to ensure this major redevelopment gets underway, which we all agree will bring fantastic benefits for the city.”