Leeds Brownfield Regeneration Programme Leeds, Keepmoat Homes, Strata Homes, Leeds City Council
Shortlisted for Brownfield Awards Category 8 - Best Urban Regeneration
The Brownfield Regeneration Programme (BRP) was set up to transform and unlock the potential of large areas of cleared brownfield land as part of a major programme of neighbourhood renewal across former Council housing estates in East Leeds. The extent of the regeneration programme can be seen in the image below.
The neighbourhoods targeted were made up of large swathes of former Council homes which had fallen into disrepair and had suffered from long standing social and economic problems. The BRP was then designed to deliver a number of key outputs including:
A mixed tenure housing offer;
An economic boost and employment opportunities;
Reinstate social capital and a sense of community;
Green and blue infrastructure and place making principles;
Underpinning all of these outputs was strong community and stakeholder engagement which fed into the plan making process and helped deliver a local vision for the area.
Attracting a Developer Partner
Another key part of the BRP was the innovative approach of packing sites together i.e. packaging higher value sites with the more challenging/unviable sites. This created far greater certainty for developers and de-risked the programme.
The Local Authority also heavily invested in the planning process to give further developer confidence. This culminated in an overall output/package of over 1,100 new homes, as well as training and employment opportunities and a major uplift in quality of place.
Image 1 – BRP Location of Brownfield sites
Creating a Vision
The BRP was built around a clear regeneration vision, in the form of a Neighbourhood Framework. This involved partnerships involving multiple Council services, developer partners (Keepmoat and Strata), ward members, planning officers and the local community that collaborated to establish clear, shared objectives and outcomes.
This Neighbourhood Framework set the parameters for the planning process and gave a framework/guidance for all consultation events, the developers’ plans and planning officers’ comments.
This collaborative approach has meant that the development proposals reflected a strong local consensus, including a mixed tenure housing offer, employment opportunities and physical improvements to the area,
The culmination of this work was the submission of eight major planning applications which were considered at a specially convened Plans Panel. Due to the huge amount of consultation and collaboration, each was supported unanimously with no objections and elected members speaking in support of development.
The headline outcomes of the BRP are:
Regenerating and bringing life into redundant Brownfield land;
The creation of a mixed tenure housing offer providing choice for local people;
The delivery of 1,100 homes over an eight year build programme including 118 affordable homes (above planning policy requirements);
The creation of 900 jobs and 84 apprenticeships for local people;
The delivery of eight sustainable modular homes;
Neighbourhood improvements including green and blue infrastructure;
Support for healthy and active lifestyles through improved access to new and enhanced greenspace and new areas of habitat and biodiversity alongside innovative flood mitigation solutions;
Providing safe, resilient and thriving communities.
The above outputs and wider BRP approach, all fed into the Council’s wider Planning and Development approach including the Core Strategy and Best Council Plan aspirations, alongside the Council’s Inclusive Growth Strategy and adopted Core Strategy.
These strategies through integration and implementation locally, achieve the 17 UN Sustainable development goals; particularly in regard to ‘good health and well-being’, ‘decent work and economic growth’, ‘sustainable cities and communities’ and ‘reduced inequalities’.
The BRP developed an innovative approach to quality of place and design development, alongside a realistic and flexible approach to commercial delivery.
There was collaborative design development throughout the procurement phase with developers and the Council working closely on place-making, embedding neighbourhood infrastructure requirements alongside housing delivery.
For example, section 106 funding was utilised to deliver a sustainable approach to flood risk management, protecting residential properties and bringing significant biodiversity, amenity and health benefits to the local area.
A Tripartite Development Agreement was put in place, which helped to balance risk and reward in a challenging market context, with a programme of sites that maximised delivery rate while protecting the Council’s land interest with the use of overage provisions.
The collaborative partnership arrangement has fostered good working relationships between the Council and the developers and is a model example of how projects of this scale and complexity can be delivered in a comprehensive and inclusive way that supports neighbourhood regeneration.
The project has also acted as a catalyst for other housing developers to invest in East Leeds raising the area’s economic, social and environmental profile.
Image 2 - Killingbeck & Seacroft Neighbourhood Framework Plan
Image 3 – Keepmoat Serenity Development
Partnership working has been central to the success of the BRP. Developers, Keepmoat and Strata have provided significant added value by:
Building the East Leeds Skills Hub that will host workshops, training sessions, work experience and site visits for students and individuals from the Princes Trust, Jobcentre and HMP Leeds Construction Academy;
Providing valuable work experience and apprenticeship opportunities for local people with insights into the construction industry through site visits and engagement workshops;
84 students from local colleges have completed a valuable work experience across Keepmoat’s East Leeds sites. From this, six candidates were interviewed to undertake their HNC/HND in Construction Management, resulting in two students securing a place as a Trainee Site Manager;
10 workshops have been set up by Keepmoat for students to attend regarding construction, careers and employability;
Engaging with young people from local primary and high schools to give them an insight into the world of construction with workshops and training sessions linking to their learning;
Launching a competition with both John Smeaton Academy and Leeds East Academy “Design your dream home” which allowed students to present their work, work as a team and engage with others;
Having a stand at the Girltech event, inspiring 13-14 year old girls in Leeds to pursue a career in digital and technology sectors;
Working with Seacroft Scroll project to provide facilities for an historic artwork story to be presented locally. Six workshops have been carried out in partnership with Seacroft Scroll with input from Keepmoat’s site team at Brooklands Avenue.
The programme has seen significant neighbourhood transformation. Critically this has seen investment to diversify the housing offer to meet a range of local housing needs across different tenure options.
This has also addressed affordability enabling the creation of a new build housing market and low-cost home ownership opportunities in areas of predominantly Council housing stock.
With limited public-sector investment development partners Keepmoat and Strata have increased the amount of affordable housing working closely with RPs to maximise different tenure opportunities alongside affordable entry level housing. The Programme has enabled local people who wish to buy their own property to stay in the area and maintain the important social connections that underpin the community.
Social and economic benefits
The BRP has also directly created jobs and apprenticeships for local people, with emphasis on using local firms to provide supplies and services.
It has also provided new and enhanced quality green space with improved connections that has brought health and well-being benefits, as well as providing sustainable transport options for local people to access local facilities and employment.This integrated approach ‘on the ground’, delivers the Council’s Best Council Plan priorities and provides a model, which is transferable elsewhere.
The investment and growth in population in these neighbourhoods has also played an important role in supporting the main fabric of these communities, including key local facilities. This will help make the communities more sustainable and resilient in the future.
Image 4 - Strata New Housing Programme