Planning permission granted for first phase of residential development at Kirkstall Forge

Leeds City Council has resolved to grant planning permission for CEG’s reserved matters (detailed) planning application for the first phase of 112 new family homes and 23,000 sq ft of retail, leisure and community space set around a vibrant public square at the £400million Kirkstall Forge development.

Designed by Stirling prize award-winning Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, these contemporary homes are of a unique design, designed to resemble the local stone of the old forge building and Kirkstall Abbey.

Kirkstall Forge nestles within a wooded valley of the River Aire, with the river and canal flowing through the site, surrounded by extensive woodland. The homes are unusually spacious, offering twelve foot high ceilings in livings spaces, open staircases, rooflights and open plan living.

James Shimwell, head of residential development at CEG, said:

“This is great news; this next phase of development will deliver a residential product which is unique to the Leeds market. It will offer a contemporary way of living, alongside a vibrant public square with places to shop, eat, drink and socialise. We have worked extensively with Leeds City Council and our designers to produce a scheme that will deliver the highest quality of contemporary design.”

The unique architect-designed homes offer a selection of gardens and terraces on different floors, with private roof terraces for the apartments, this maximises the opportunity the sloping site offers for views of the woodland, waterside and across the valley. Some of the larger family homes will also benefit from the historic Mill Race flowing through the end of the garden.

Garages for parking and storage lie beneath the buildings to enable pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined streets which offer seating and play space to encourage neighbourliness and interaction.

The masterplan focuses on the creation of a vibrant new community. The riverside terraces create gently sloping streets and a central riverside boulevard connects the new bridge to the station and south-facing riverside event spaces and proposed public square. Here, shops, cafés and restaurants will spill out onto the paved public realm and large communal courtyard garden.

The inspiration is taken from the heritage of the site and its woodland setting as well as from ‘model villages’ such as Saltaire and the steep terraced streets found in many Yorkshire towns. The communal, pedestrian-friendly areas in front of the homes also benefits from contemporary Scandinavian ideas about co-housing and will help to build a true sense of community amongst those who are lucky enough to be the first to move into this pioneering new neighbourhood.

Predominently family homes, with some apartments, this first phase is the beginning of a new village connected to Leeds City Centre in just six minutes by the site’s new railway station. The range of homes all make the most of the surrounding landscape are key to building a new future and a new community for this area, with its rich history.

Developer CEG is leading the development of the 57 acre Kirkstall Forge site and has already managed more than £40million of investment into clearance, decontamination and infrastructure. Following the successful opening of the new railway station connecting the site to Leeds’ in minutes, the first phase of commercial development completes in the next few weeks, delivering number One Kirkstall Forge, an 110,000 ft², seven-storey Grade A office building, which is already almost 70% let and will become home to hundreds of staff before the end of the year.

Ultimately the site will become a thriving mixed-use community, comprising 1,050 new homes, 300,000 ft² of offices and 100,000 ft² of retail, leisure and community space. Once complete, more than 10,000 people will live, work and visit the site.

Jon Kenny from CEG said:

“Securing planning permission for our next phase is exciting and we look forward to delivering sustainable new ways of living alongside our flagship commercial development. With contemporary housing, restaurants, cafés, a school, leisure space and light-filled offices, connected to Leeds City Centre in just six minutes, Kirkstall Forge will provide the vibrancy of city life as well as the tranquillity of the outdoors.”

Kirkstall Forge is one of the oldest industrial sites in the country, with an 800 year history. More than £40 million in developer funds have been invested in demolition, site clearance, decontamination, infrastructure works and the construction of the first office building to date. The site will generate an estimated £5million a year in retail spend in the area, boosting the local economy.

CEG and Wates have also opened the Forging Futures Campus on site which is delivering an innovative vocational training programme on site, creating Yorkshire’s future developers, buildings, architects and engineers through hands-on activities, curriculum projects and work experience.