Leeds Innovation Arc was among the winners from Gove's latest round. Credit: Leeds City Council

Gove backs 20,000 homes for Leeds

Leeds has welcomed the government’s latest funding support for innovation and regeneration projects in the city, as part of a set of wider West Yorkshire announcements by Michael Gove.

Speaking at the Convention of the North event in Leeds last week, Gove announced various funding and approval decisions. These included:

  • ‘Leeds transformational regeneration partnership’ to grow the city centre – vision document due to be published soon – with 20,000 new homes central to the proposal
  • Approval for West Yorkshire investment zone, focused on innovation and health tech. £50m investment will accelerate projects such as refurbishment of Leeds’ old medical school to create a 40,000 sq ft health science park and teaching facilities in Huddersfield
  • £25m revenue funding for investment zone for new incubator projects and a start-up accelerator

The Leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr James Lewis, said: “The announcements are a significant step towards Leeds building on its nationally recognised track record of delivering large-scale infrastructure projects which support regeneration and build economic growth.

“Collaborating with Government and the West Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the work will be driven by our Vision for Leeds and our commitment to Inclusive Growth, aiming to act as a positive driver to tackle poverty and inequality, accelerate housing delivery, and provide more opportunities for everyone who calls Leeds home.

“We welcome that mention was given to bringing Temple Works into public ownership, a crucial step in creating a new home for the British Library in Leeds, together with support for The Royal Armouries and the new National Poetry Centre.

“Equally, we are delighted that a £2.5bn investment will be made for a mass transit system linking Leeds with Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, and Wakefield, together with work to unlock the delivery of 20,000 extra homes in Leeds.

“However, we will need to see the full funding implications before definitive plans can be made, the details of which we hope will be included in next week’s budget.”

The Leeds Innovation Partnership has welcomed news of the final go-ahead for the West Yorkshire Investment Zone with a specific focus on the Leeds Innovation Arc, as well as strengthening our support to entrepreneurs and businesses.

The news represents a significant opportunity for the city and wider region to solidify its position as a leader in digital and health tech. The investment in the area will not only deliver 4,000 new jobs and up to a £13bn economic boost for the region through accelerating our progress with the Leeds Innovation Arc, but also is another step forward for the city’s ambition to deliver innovation that creates a healthier, green and inclusive future for Leeds, the region and across the globe.

Funding announced today of a £27.6m revenue programme will allow us to further invest in the existing innovation support eco-system within the region, strengthening the offer to diverse businesses and entrepreneurs in the health innovation and digital technology space and encouraging greater collaboration with research expertise.

Linda Pollard, chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “News today of additional revenue and infrastructure support for developing WYIZ is hugely welcome. This moves us another step closer to realising our collective vision to regenerate this part of Leeds city centre into a vibrant new global destination as part of the government’s levelling up agenda.

“This funding will attract the type of major entrepreneurs and health tech innovators we want to engage in creating a world-class, health tech-driven Innovation Village at the heart of the arc.”

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