A £400m scheme to revive one of Yorkshire’s oldest industrial sites is due to get under way later this month.
Kirkstall Forge will soon become a place to live and work, after years of decline. Developer Commercial Estates Group (CEG) has completed demolition and remediation work on the 23-hectare site. This month work will start on a new railway station and access road, which will pave the way for more than 1,000 homes and 300,000 sq ft of office space.
The developers plan to turn Kirkstall Forge into a mixed-use community in a wooded riverside setting. It will include an office park, shops, restaurants, a gym, crèche and other facilities. The scheme will create around 2,400 jobs, boosting the local economy by more than £5m per year.
CEG will be investing more than £10m in affordable housing, education and transport improvements as part of the wider Kirkstall Forge redevelopment.
Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West, said “Kirkstall Forge is unique; the quality of the on-site amenities combined with its stunning riverside and woodland location will undoubtedly make it one of the most sought-after destinations in the north for businesses and residents. Kirkstall Forge is set to stimulate the local economy and will be a catalyst for major regeneration, much-needed housing and job creation.”
Jon Kenny, director of CEG, said: “Today kick-starts one of the most ambitious schemes in Leeds’s development pipeline.”
The Department for Transport will provide a maximum of £10.3m towards the £16.9m needed to deliver railway stations on this site and at Apperley Bridge.
The remaining 40 per cent of the cost is made up of a local funding package. This includes a private sector contribution of more than £5m, supplemented by funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Kirkstall Forge was a major industrial site for more than 400 years. During the 19th century, it provided railway wheels, axles and complete wagons. The last axle was manufactured in December 2002, and in March 2003 all remaining plant was auctioned off.