Agenda item

Director's Update - City Development

To receive a verbal update from the Director of City Development.


The Director of City Development, Martin Farrington, provided an update to the Committee on the work of the Department. The accompanying presentation focussed on the following key matters:


Economic Development.

·  Climate Change was embedded at the heart of the Inclusive Growth Strategy (launched in September 2023) and the city’s Innovation Vision to ‘Stimulate innovation which drives and delivers measurable impact towards a healthier, greener and inclusive future for Leeds and the world’.

·  The Destination Marketing and International Relations plan (approved by Executive Board in October 2022) sets out how the city will drive sustainable tourism.

·  The Future Talent Plan focussed on developing green skills and providing pathways into green jobs along with upskilling/re-skilling the existing workforce to enter the burgeoning green job marketplace. It was reported that there were approximately 20,000 net zero jobs across 470 companies in Leeds.

·  The update of the Leeds Local Plan will focus on net zero, renewable energy generation, flood management and green and blue infrastructure through work on the Flood Alleviation Scheme, District Heating Scheme, to deliver Net Zero Homes, Woodland Creation, delivery of Green Spaces and support for Electric vehicles.



·  Sustainable Arts in Leeds (SAIL) is a not-for-profit member's network supporting more than 300 Cultural and Creative industries across Leeds to realise an ambition for a zero emissions/zero waste sector. Leeds Culture Trust works with SAIL as a core delivery partner for Leeds 2023 Sustainable Action Plan.

·  LCC signed up to the "Eurocities – Lille Call to Action for low carbon and more inclusive culture" and is developing an action plan around climate and sustainability priorities. 

·  The Major Events Framework sets out the Council’s commitment to ensure that all major events contribute towards the city’s ambition to become net zero by 2030.


Planning and Sustainable Development

·  The Local Plan Update will ensure that planning policies address the climate emergency, through focussing on net zero, renewable energy generation, flood management and green and blue infrastructure through work on the Flood Alleviation Scheme, District Heating Scheme, to deliver Net Zero Homes, Woodland Creation, delivery of Green Spaces and support for Electric vehicles.

·  Consultation on an update of the separate Leeds Local Plan 2040 took place in 2023 and further consultation is anticipated in the summer of 2024 on detailed policies and development sites on housing, the spatial strategy, economic development, transport and connectivity.


Asset Management and Regeneration


·  Aire Park is being brought forward to provide interconnected, biodiverse and climate resilient interlinked spaces.

·  The “Our Spaces Strategy” adopted in March 2020 supports the delivery of all new greening proposals in the city and delivered key projects including the Playhouse Gardens and public spaces at the Corn Exchange and Cookridge Street.

·  Housing Growth – 1900 new build proposals are being taken forward which include low carbon measures for the majority of the current council housing programme.

·  The Sustainable Travel Gateway had created pedestrian priority outside the city station, cycle hub and segregated cycle lanes to promote an alternative to cars.

·  The Directorate continued to work Estate Optimisation/Rationalisation to ensure full utilisation of the LCC estate or release surplus space.


The Chief Officer, Highways and Transportation, Gary Bartlett, provided a presentation on the work of the department in relation to the following:

·  New governance arrangements to support the departmental response to the climate emergency through the establishment of a Climate Emergency Task Group to review and develop actions to deliver the pledge to “promote climate actions that also protect and restore nature and biodiversity”. The Task Group was supported by new initiatives to create Climate Champions and a Future Climate Leaders Group amongst staff.

·  The Transport Strategy had been developed to tackle climate change, deliver inclusive growth and improve health & wellbeing and included targets to promote behavioural change.

·  The Leeds Public Transport Infrastructure Programme had provided benefits in terms of improved public spaces, widened footways and enhanced cycle network. Better access to public transport and reduced road congestion had been achieved along with improved air quality and reduced carbon emissions. A consultation was due to be undertaken to assess residents views of “before and after” the implementation of the Programme.

·  The Corporate Travel Plan will be refreshed and each Council department will be tasked with reviewing their own travel plan and how their staff travel around the city.


To conclude, the Director highlighted the work included within  the Natural Flood Risk Management Scheme which was implemented in conjunction with the Environment Agency. The use of tree planting and soil management was critical to manage flood risk.


During the discussions the following matters were considered

·  Connectivity between the bus and rails stations in the city centre and at the White Rose centre. The Committee noted that it was not practical to move the bus station nearer to City Station and the focus of the approach taken in the city was to improve the experience by creating better space for walking and cycling. It was confirmed that the White Rose station did have connectivity through to the White Rose bus station.

·  Connectivity between the city centre and Leeds Bradford Airport via taxi and private hire and buses/trains.

·  Information on “Planning for the Planet” and making space for community growing in developments would be provided to the Committee following the meeting.

·  Feed Leeds would be addressed in the Local Plan and it was agreed that this would be raised with the team working on the Plan.

·  The take-up of the use of Beryl Bikes would be considered at a Board meeting due to be held shortly and it was agreed that a report back would be provided to the Committee. It was noted that initial reactions to the scheme had been favourable. In response to a query regarding a development in Aireborough that had showed an interest in installing Beryl Bikes, it was agreed that officers would respond directly to the Member following enquiries.

·  In response to comments that a cultural change was needed to encourage take-up of car sharing, it was noted that the Council previously had a car sharing space but the issue would be raised to determine whether the scheme still existed.

·  The role for Community Committees in the development of transport options in their localities. It was noted that the “Leeds Streets For All” consultation had commenced seeking residents views on the highways and transportation issues which impacted on them the most, and when funding became available, the findings would be addressed.



a)  To thank the Director and officers for their update and presentation

b)  To note the contents of the discussions and the measures being implemented by the City Development Directorate to tackle climate change.