Residents of Leeds are being called upon to contribute to the development of the city’s Innovation Arc, recognising its crucial role in fostering inclusive economic growth. Encompassing an area equivalent to 185 football pitches on the western side of the city centre, the Innovation Arc is home to esteemed educational, health, and cultural institutions, as well as a diverse range of start-ups, scale-ups, and major businesses.

In collaboration with various partners, Leeds City Council is actively engaged in formulating a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) that will provide a 20-year vision for the further advancement of the Innovation Arc. This comprehensive plan aims to generate employment opportunities and foster inclusive growth for all members of the community.

Following a successful initial round of public consultation on the SPD last year, the feedback received has been meticulously analysed and incorporated to refine the document’s contents. As the second round of consultation on the SPD commences, local residents and stakeholders are provided with another opportunity to express their views on the future vision of the Innovation Arc. The area holds great promise, blending cutting-edge academic research with entrepreneurial business activity.

Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure at Leeds City Council, expressed the city’s commitment to ensuring the continued progress and prosperity of the dynamic Innovation Arc. She encouraged all interested parties to actively participate and share their thoughts, emphasising the importance of the Supplementary Planning Document in achieving the city’s objectives.

Upon completion, the SPD will guide future planning applications, facilitate infrastructure improvements, and support relevant funding proposals. The second round of consultation on the SPD is now open and will run until July 26. Further information on how to engage in the process can be found here.

Among the prestigious institutions operating within the Innovation Arc are the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Arts University, and Leeds Teaching Hospitals. These esteemed organisations are joined by prominent public and private sector employers, as well as cultural landmarks such as Leeds Town Hall, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds City Museum, and Leeds Central Library.

The Innovation Arc, bordered by Woodhouse, Hyde Park, Burley, and New Wortley, already boasts the highest concentration of employment in the region. Moreover, it presents significant potential for sustainable investments in buildings, public spaces, and connectivity.

The current vision for the Innovation Arc includes several key elements:

  1. Unlocking an additional one million square feet of innovation space to facilitate new research facilities and hubs for start-ups, co-working, and other business activities.
  2. Developing improved public transportation routes alongside new pedestrian and cycling links, mitigating the social restrictions imposed by physical barriers like the Inner Ring Road.
  3. Ensuring that these transportation enhancements prioritise accessible and welcoming connections to neighbouring communities such as Little London, Woodhouse, Hyde Park, Burley, and New Wortley.
  4. Establishing two new city centre parks and other green spaces to enhance the overall urban environment.
  5. Supporting major mixed-use regeneration projects, including the creation of new cultural spaces and the development of affordable housing.

The collaborative efforts of the local community, along with stakeholders and the Leeds City Council, are poised to shape the future landscape of the Innovation Arc, ultimately driving inclusive economic growth and prosperity for the city of Leeds.