Finally… Holbeck and Beeston Hill regeneration scheme set for green light

A massive regeneration scheme in south Leeds is one step closer after the Government gave its long-awaited approval for the project to move forward.

The £180m housing PFI project to revitalise the neighbourhoods of Little London, Beeston Hill & Holbeck has been subject to a government Value for Money review in recent months. However the Treasury has now given the go-ahead for the scheme, enabling the council to appoint their “preferred bidder” to carry out the work.

Councillors had complained the hold-up was costing £1m a month because of rising costs. Work had originally been due to start last year.

The regeneration consortium Sustainable Communities for Leeds (sc4L) has come out on top in its bid to carry out the work on this major housing regeneration project.

The council will now work with sc4L to finalise its proposals for this major scheme, which include 388 new council properties, the refurbishment of over 1200 existing council homes as well as environmental improvements.

It is expected that the Government will give the go-ahead to sign the contract early in the new year, enabling work to start on site in Spring 2012.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“This is a massive project for the city, representing investment of £180m in deprived inner city areas, so it is a huge relief that the government have finally given us the go ahead. We always had faith that this was a very strong project, which has made the hold ups all the more difficult to accept.

“It is tremendous that we are now in a position to move forward. Hopefully this will bring an end to the uncertainty for the communities involved. We had hoped to start work this summer, so everyone connected with this scheme can’t wait to get started. Hopefully over the next few months people living nearby should start to see things happening on site.”

Coun Peter Gruen, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive board member for neighbourhoods, housing and regeneration, said:

“This is an exciting moment and is the result of years of dedicated work by many people to get us to this stage. The delays in achieving final government approval for this project have been incredibly frustrating for us all, not least the residents of Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck. These hold ups have also been very costly, but it is great to finally have some certainty that enables us to get on and make things happen.

“This is a huge landmark on a project set to transform these communities as well as provide opportunities for jobs and further investment in key regeneration areas.”

The consortium’s plans will help create sustainable communities in Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck. Designs for the new council homes and refurbishment schemes will meet high standards of energy efficiency and estate areas will be improved including better outdoors areas, and walking and cycling routes.

The Regeneration of Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck

The Council has been allocated Private Finance Initiative credits by the government and has undertaken a detailed procurement exercise to be able to select a suitable contractor to undertake the proposed programme of works.

The PFI contract with the private sector will be for the refurbishment of council properties, construction of new council homes, some environmental improvements and maintenance of all elements over a 20 year period. The PFI regeneration project contributes to the wider regeneration plans for Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck.