New river bridge for Hunslet

Sustainable urban developer Citu is forging ahead with plans to construct a new 50 metre pedestrian bridge at Hunslet in Leeds’s South Bank, which will provide a vital link across the River Aire between the two sites of its pioneering Climate Innovation District.

CGI showing the new bridge and housing on the north bank

The bridge will also connect previously isolated communities in Cross Green, Hunslet and the surrounding areas to an easy pedestrian route into the heart of the city; halving the time it takes to walk into the centre from 20 minutes down to 10 minutes, allowing a healthier, safer journey along the River Aire.

The bridge is located between the A61 John Smeaton viaduct and the Royal Armouries Museum.

The bridge, which can also be used by cyclists in line with Leeds City Council’s highways policy on new infrastructure, will perform a duel role. As well as creating an integral link, the 1.5m bridge wide has been engineered to accommodate Leeds City Council’s planned £40m district heat network, which was approved last July, over the river to the landmark South Bank regeneration project.

Citu are committed to investing in the wider sustainable regeneration of the South Bank in the long term. The district heat network is not required for the homes in the Climate Innovation District due to the airtightness and high performance of their innovative timber-framed design, but it will offer both existing and future developments in the area the opportunity to benefit from the Council’s flagship district heat network which will harness heat from its new RERF (recycling and energy recovery facility) at Cross Green.

Jonathan Wilson, development director at Citu, said:

“The bridge will act as a catalyst for social and economic change at Hunslet Riverside and the wider South Bank. It will provide a crucial physical link across the river, better connecting the area to the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists; playing a key role in our ambition to create a car-free district in the heart of the city-centre.

“Citu’s whole ethos is to offer a model of how to build zero carbon neighbourhoods that also provide healthier, smarter and better-connected cities. Investing in this section of pipework for the district heat network infrastructure is an example of this, and we hope that the area will reap the economic and environmental benefits of having access to a low cost, low carbon heat source.”

The bridge is due for completion late summer 2018 to coincide with the first residents moving into homes at the Climate Innovation District; the first ecologically pioneering District of its scale in Europe. It will feature more than 520 low carbon Citu Homes including apartments and houses, alongside manufacturing, leisure, offices and climate resilient public realm. 

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“This new footbridge will further enhance the South Bank regeneration, helping to improve connectivity and links to the heart of the city centre as well as being part of our exciting new city park project. The fact it will host the infrastructure for the new district heating network is also important as we look to get the network installed and operational helping to save people money on their heating bills and improving air quality in the city as soon as possible.”

Citu are now asking for members of the public to come up with a name for the bridge by tweeting their ideas to @CituUK. A winner will be chosen by Citu in May.

Adds Jonathan:

“We’ve put a lot of thought into our chosen names for the streets and spaces within the District, from the two modern apartment blocks known as ‘The Hive’ and ‘The Honeycomb’, to the tranquil ‘Wind in the Willows’ area of family homes and riverside public realm. We’re looking forward to hearing some suitably imaginative suggestions for the bridge; names which evoke a sense of the type of environmentally conscious neighbourhood we hope the District will become.”

The winner will be invited to officially open the bridge later this year and a special commemorative plaque with their name on it, will be fitted to the completed structure.

For more information on the Climate Innovation District, go to