Deal signed to ensure new Victoria Gate scheme delivers jobs boost for Leeds

A NEW charter has been signed to ensure Leeds residents are best placed to access more than 1,000 jobs being created by the new £165m Victoria Gate development.

Artist impression of the centre. Picture: Hammerson.

The retail centre is set to open late next year anchored by a major new John Lewis store for the city.

Now Leeds City Council, John Lewis and the developer behind the project, Hammerson, have signed an Employment and Skills Charter “marking a commitment to support Leeds residents to access more than 1,000 new employment opportunities.”

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The charter says the organisations will work together to ensure Leeds and its surrounding residents have access to skills training, retail and hospitality jobs from the completed centre as well as construction jobs being created by the development in the city centre.

The new John Lewis store takes shape in Victoria Gate, Leeds, as striking concrete diamond panels are installed. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Hammerson, Leeds City Council and John Lewis have said they will work closely with local colleges and universities, training providers and specialist agencies. The Victoria Gate scheme, wh will feature a John Lewis store and a two-street covered arcade with more than 30 retailers and restaurants.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council hailed the agreement as great news for the city.

She said: “It is one of our top priorities as a council to ensure everyone in the city shares the opportunities provided by economic development as we forge forward for the future. The city is very ambitious but when we attract this sort of investment one of the most important things is that as many people as possible benefit.”

“We work closely with developers and companies setting up in the city to ensure that employment for local people is high on their agenda and I am delighted that John Lewis and Hammerson are taking their responsibilities seriously.”

Hammerson’s development retail director Robin Dobson said: “We are committed to creating long lasting employment, and training opportunities in Leeds. Signing the Charter marks an important step in the development of Victoria Gate, and highlights the opportunities that the development will create for the local community and further afield.”

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said: “We are committed to the local communities in which we operate, and by signing this Charter, it affirms our focus to provide local jobs for local people. We want to ensure that job opportunities created by our Victoria Gate shop are accessible to all Leeds residents.”