Leeds City Council has been granted over £15 million for its ambitious plans to rejuvenate Holbeck, as part of the latest allocation from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

The ‘Heart of Holbeck’ initiative aims to bring about significant transformation by revitalizing the local high street, upgrading the community centre, and enhancing traditional terraced homes.

A substantial portion of the £15.9 million investment will be directed towards supporting the local charity Holbeck Together. This support includes improvements to St Matthew’s Community Centre, where the charity provides crucial services, and an expansion into the adjacent Old Box Office in collaboration with the current owner, Leeds Building Society. The regeneration of these sites is anticipated to facilitate the introduction of various new services, such as a gym, café, social supermarket, and space for local microbusinesses.

Moreover, there will be notable investments in the public realm and the local environment, with a focus on improving the appearance, ambiance, safety, and accessibility of public spaces throughout central Holbeck. This encompasses significant funding for the local retail centre, as well as enhancements to cycle and pedestrian infrastructure and the revitalization of the main community park, Holbeck Moor.

The investment will also contribute to improving living conditions for approximately 200 back-to-back homes. This involves addressing issues related to insulation, safety, and external appearance, with landlords expected to make financial contributions to upgrade some of the most substandard private sector housing conditions in Leeds.

Leeds City Council and Holbeck Together will collaborate with the government in a validation process to confirm the funding award.

Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for sustainable development & infrastructure, said: “This is fantastic news, which will allow the council to work closely with the local community to deliver transformative change across Holbeck, regenerating the neighbourhood, delivering 21st century infrastructure and supporting the delivery of services that are really needed there.

“There is still work to be done before we can put spades in the ground, but we are committed to working with the government and Holbeck Together to successfully deliver the Heart of Holbeck project.”

Elissa Newman, Chief officer at Holbeck Together, said: “This is such brilliant news for Holbeck and a real testament to great partnership work between the council and Third Sector. We were so disappointed when our original funding bid was not approved earlier this year, but we have continued to develop our project with business parties across the city and this announcement comes at the perfect time to allow us to plan for further growth in our offer to the community and to improve vital local facilities. This is a game changer for the future of Holbeck.”