Kirkstall Valley Development Trust is one of Leeds most ambitious community driven projects.
We set up a Trust, owned and run by its members, in 2016. Our aim is to develop a learning and leisure park over 200 hidden acres of inner Leeds and to refurbish two heritage mills that lie at its heart.
We are working with Leeds City Council, University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, the Centre for Alternative Technology and local community groups to create:
- A Centre for Future Cities teaching practical and high level skills for sustainable living, focusing on water, energy, food and housing.
- Environmental education particularly aimed at young people
- Energy, growing and nature projects
- On site power sourced from the river and solar panels
- New parkland and wildlife areas
- Improved access, with cycle and walk ways
- Two refurbished heritage mills
- Workspace for sympathetic small businesses
- Flexible community space
- A public café / bar, events and exhibition space
The aspiration to create a new Kirkstall Valley Park and linked green spaces down the river Aire has been around for many years, fostered by the Kirkstall Valley Park Board, but to date the space south of the Kirkstall Bridge shopping Centre remains largely inaccessible and underused.
We want to protect that green space, but open it up for people to enjoy. At the same time, we want to bring the semi derelict Abbey Mills (LS5 3HP) and St Anns mill industrial site (LS5 3AE) into education and social use.
Fulfilling the vision of a Valley Park is probably a 20-year project, but refurbishment of the mills is the obvious place to start and we’re doing just that at Abbey Mills (see separate tab)
MAKING IT HAPPEN
Two series of actions will happen in parallel.
We will involve local people, businesses, schools and groups in shaping the project. Will you support the idea? What changes / additions to these starter ideas do you want? What would motivate you to be involved?
We will encourage people to register their interest and then become members (and so owners) of the Trust at a cost of £10
Physical and Financial
a) Create draft designs of the spaces and possible layout of the Abbey Mills and St Anns site
b) Survey the land and plan how to deal with flooding and other environmental issues
c) Cost the different aspects of the scheme to see if they make financial sense against projected income and likely funding
d) Talk to people about the designs along the way to make sure they are fit for purpose
Once a costed physical and financial plan have been agreed, we will enter the planning process and begin discussions about acquiring the land.
During early 2017 we successfully raised £47,000 in a community share issue against a target of £40,000 to provide development cash for Abbey Mills. A bid to Heritage Lottery for £85,000 was unfortunately turned down as being too high risk, but we have been invited to reapply for a smaller amount. These sums were to pay for architectural and surveyor fees, project management, marketing and community engagement in a lead in to a Heritage Enterprise bid for £2m to develop Abbey Mills.
We are now going to hold on to shareholders cash until we are clearer about Leeds City Council’s intentions and will be making plans for partial occupation of Abbey Mills meantime. Though the public share offer is closed, individuals and businesses are always encouraged to invest and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss. A copy of the share issue document appears below.
Above – Kirkstall Valley Park site, reaching from Morrisons / St Anns Mill in the north west, following Kirkstall Rd to Redcote Lane and the retail park in the south east
Above – St Anns Mill