Public realm improvements are set to be made to town and local centres across Leeds.
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Public realm improvements in communities across the city set to take centre stage at executive board

A range of significant public realm improvements in and around the city’s town and local centres are set to be considered by senior councillors next week.

As part of a report submitted to Leeds City Council’s executive board on 21 March 2018, members will have the chance to assess the merits of an initial batch of 12 schemes which if approved, will benefit from funding through the authority’s £5m ‘Local Centres Programme’ (LCP).

Announced last year, the programme will support a variety of ambitious public realm enhancements, adding meaningful support to local communities in their vital role as centres of economic, social and leisure activity. Each community is unique and the aim of the LCP is to provide a flexible and tailored solution to the individual challenges and opportunities that they face.

As part of the assessment process, each project was judged by its potential to support the ambitions set out through the LCP in one of the following categories: Infrastructure, Business, Public Realm, Innovation and Sustainability, Renovation.

To ensure that all areas in the city have the opportunity to benefit from the LCP, every ward was invited to bid with some schemes also having support through other funding such as S106 developer contributions, which will add significantly to the overall investment in the city’s public realm. All successful bids will be subject to a robust and more detailed business case and scheme design process.

Included in the projects recommended for approval are large public realm and significant highways improvements to Meanwood local centre, which will act as a catalyst in which to attract further significant investment. To further support the substantial regeneration programme being undertaken in Holbeck by the council and partners, a number of shop front improvements will be made, while a new digital communications facility and art space is also earmarked to be created in Morley.

A series of green space and public realm improvements will also be undertaken in New Wortley. Whilst not a traditional town and local centre, ambitious plans have been put forward for New Wortley, and the recommendation to approve this project is recognition of this ambition.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

“Town and local centres are at the very heart of our local communities, and we believe it is absolutely vital that a package of meaningful support is provided to ensure that they can continue to thrive and be in the very best position to meet the many economic and social challenges that currently exist. The introduction of our £5m LCP programme that will deliver a variety of meaningful public realm improvements is one of the ways that we have set out to meet this ambition.

“We are now in a position to approve a first wave of 12 bids recommended for approval which have been submitted by businesses, community groups and different stakeholders to improve their local areas. The projects will make real improvements in areas from infrastructure and public realm, to renovation and businesses, and I look forward to seeing the different elements of work started and also welcoming a second round of bids in the future.”

Further details on the different scheme types is as follows:

  • Infrastructure – Complementary highways and pedestrian safety improvement schemes
  • Business – High street façade improvements and vacant space reuse
  • Public Realm – Improvements to support additional vitality and viability within local centres
  • Innovation and Sustainability – Adapting the High Street for 21st century challenges
  • Renovation – Property schemes linked to new jobs or – re-use of traditional buildings.

A second round of bids for funding from the LCP will be announced in due course.

For a full copy of the executive report and a complete list of projects proposed for approval through the Local Centres Programme, please see: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk

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