He inspected the site of the new Kirkstall Forge railway station, due to open later this year.
The new station is six minutes from Leeds on the route to Shipley and Bradford Forster Square. It is part of the wider Kirkstall Forge development which is being developed by Commercial Estates Group (CEG) and is set to unlock a £400m investment into a major new residential, office and leisure scheme off the A65.
Jon Kenny, director of CEG, said: “The delivery of the railway station means we can offer something very special and unique at Kirkstall Forge; the site will be just six minutes from Leeds City Centre, as well as connecting to Bradford and the Yorkshire Dales.
“The development will offer prime office space and new homes with fantastic facilities in a stunning riverside, woodland location.”
This 23 hectare (57 acre) brownfield site is the oldest continuously industrialised site in the UK with 800 years of history
The site has outline planning permission for 300,000 sq ft of office space, 1050 new homes and facilities such as cafes, restaurants, school, retail, leisure, crèche and gym. The ancient forge and water wheel is set to form a focus for the public realm.
The key catalyst unlocking the site is the delivery of the new railway station which is funded by the developer, DfT and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
This is one of the largest regeneration schemes and the most ambitious project in the north of England.
£300m is programmed for investment in the site over the next five years, creating more than 2,400 new jobs and 1,050 new homes – there will be almost 10,000 people living and working on this site by 2020.
The development has also secured the national Placemaking Award for Best Mixed-use Development 2015 – The judging panel, which includes urban designers, planners, housebuilders, regeneration companies, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust and English Heritage, said they loved the scheme’s scale, ambition, partnership and environmental values.