Land Deal for Research and Technology Facility
University of Leeds acquires key gateway 45 plot to host large-scale research and experimental facilities.
The facility will be home to the University’s Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration, to be co-located with planned HS2 Rolling Stock Depot to create a ‘thriving hub’ for future engineers
Aire Valley Land LLP, the joint venture between Harworth Group plc and Evans Property Group, has sold the 10-acre ‘North
plot’ at its Gateway 45 Leeds development to the University of Leeds to create space to collaborate with industry on major research initiatives.
Its co-location with HS2’s intended Phase 2b Rolling Stock Depot on the Gateway 45 site – a facility that will enable 24-hour maintenance of the brand new high-speed trains, set to deliver faster journeys for passengers on the East Coast mainline – is considered essential to the success of both facilities. The equipment, facilities and expertise within the Institute will create a UK centre of excellence, equipped to lead on the research and development needs for global industry partners including advanced technology development and testing, digital engineering and transport policy and economics.
Taken together, both of these facilities will make Leeds and the region a global centre for advanced rail and high speed technology, further strengthening the Leeds City Region economy. The Institute of High Speed Rail Technology and System Integration is expected to attract significant inward investment and jobs to Leeds City Region, with the Rolling Stock Depot also expected to create up to 125 skilled jobs in building on HS2’s commitment to create more than 100,000 new jobs and 2,000 apprentices.
They position Leeds City Region as a global centre for high speed rail research and development.
Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds, said:
“The new advanced testing facilities as part of the University’s Institute, alongside HS2’s new rolling stock depot, are a significant step forward for UK high speed rail capability. They position Leeds City Region as a global centre for high speed rail research and development, so we’re working closely with HS2 to ensure our facilities align with its needs and those of industry, so all sides can deliver for the country.”
The Gateway 45 is adjacent to Junction 45 of the M1 that extends to 166 acres and has outline planning consent for 2.64 million sq ft of commercial space. Aire Valley Land LLP has set spent the past four years preparing the site for development, including completing a £7.5 million infrastructure and ground works programme for the entire site using a loan facility from the Leeds City Region. Leeds City Council opened its 1,000 space Park & Ride facility at the site in June 2017, providing commuters with a 15 minute bus link to Leeds City Centre. Aire Valley will also be promoting the remaining plots for a range of commercial uses, including manufacturing and logistics.
James Pitt, Development Director at Evans Property Group, commented: “The University of Leeds is exactly the sort of high-value occupier we envisaged when we originally masterplanned Gateway 45. AVL LLP’s focus now is supporting the University to get on-site as quickly as possible in order for the benefits of their world-class facility to rapidly come forward.”