Supporting Local Regeneration at Leeds Victoria Gate

16/12/2015

At Leeds Victoria Gate, Hammerson is working with Leeds City Council and principal contractor Sir Robert McAlpine to enhance the ongoing regeneration of Leeds. The development is creating jobs, training and new business opportunities, as well as supporting programmes that promote healthy living and wellbeing. The team is also working closely with local traders and neighbours. The result? A scheme with strong local support, representing a huge opportunity for retailers and local people.

2,000 job opportunities

Employment and Skills Charter with Leeds City Council and John Lewis

Delivering employment skills training for local young people

Boosting local enterprise

Promoting healthy living

Situation

Leeds Victoria Gate is a 34,300 m2 scheme, delivering John Lewis’s first store in the city, together with 30 retail and catering units. As well as regenerating the physical space, the £165 million scheme will deliver around 1,000 retail and catering jobs, and employ around 1,000 people on site during construction. Planning approval was granted in September 2013 and construction began in April 2014. The scheme is due to open in late 2016. Proposals are also in place for a further phase of up to 73,000 m2.

Hammerson’s sustainability vision is to create retail destinations that deliver positive impacts economically, socially and environmentally. Leeds Victoria Gate is a fantastic opportunity to deliver this vision. This case study focuses on economic and social impacts. Information on environmental initiatives is available here.

Actions

Hammerson and Sir Robert McAlpine’s dedicated community managers are delivering a range of initiatives at Leeds Victoria Gate to support the regeneration of Leeds and deliver positive economic and social impacts, including:

  • Supporting local employment and skills: Hammerson’s Employment and Skills Charter was signed in October 2015 with Leeds City Council and John Lewis. The Charter sets out how the organisations will work with local residents, including young people, providing access to skills training and 1,000 retail and hospitality job opportunities. A further 1,000 construction employment opportunities will be created by the development in the city centre. Hammerson, Leeds City Council and John Lewis are collaborating closely with local colleges, universities, training providers and specialist agencies to ensure that local people can benefit from these opportunities.
  • Focusing on local young people: Hammerson’s Victoria Gate Fund, in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation, is supporting six local projects to develop young people’s employment skills and experience. The projects include digital training, enterprise skills, support with CVs and interview techniques, and a youth employment initiative. Two research studies have also been commissioned at Leeds Beckett University for local students, one on sustainable fashion and one on the future of retail. In addition, three students from Leeds College of Art are visually documenting the Victoria Gate development through the stages of construction to 2016.
  • Boosting local enterprise: Hammerson is co-sponsoring the Digital High Street Skills programme in Leeds, with Leeds City Council, to help small businesses develop digital skills, from creating a website to using social media for marketing and communications. They are also encouraging the site workforce to buy from local market traders.
  • Promoting healthy living: Hammerson has partnered with local charity Zest and Jamie’s Ministry of Food to offer 170 local people in deprived postcodes free cookery classes. This follows the success of an initiative with Zest and Jamie’s Ministry of Food to publish and distribute a recipe book ‘Healthy Eating on a Budget’ for low income families. In addition, fresh fruit from the market is being bought for the project team to promote healthy eating and support local businesses.

Benefits and financials

  • £30,940 has been invested in healthy living projects and training programmes to provide young people across Leeds with the essential skills and knowledge for future employment.
  • Hammerson is building local relationships and goodwill, which are so important both during and post development. They will contribute to the success of the completed scheme, which is expected to attract £540 million of annual sales to the city.
  • By delivering on Hammerson’s sustainability vision and putting its Positive Places sustainability strategy into practice at Leeds Victoria Gate, Hammerson is reinforcing the company’s reputation for delivering schemes with strong, positive links with the communities in which it operates.
  • Supporting regeneration in Leeds and contributing to the city’s aspiration of becoming a world-class destination that attracts and excites customers, residents and visitors directly supports Hammerson’s business outcomes.

Challenges & Achievements

 

ENGAGEMENT

 

How to engage with the local community throughout the construction process?

 

The construction of any major scheme can cause significant impacts on local people and businesses. It is therefore important to keep the local community informed and engage with them throughout the process. At Leeds Victoria Gate, the project team:

  • opens a first-floor viewing gallery to the public on the last Friday of every month;
  • publishes monthly newsletters for local stakeholders; and
  • holds monthly meetings with local market traders.

In addition, they regularly host site visits for local schoolchildren, students and residents, as well as giving career talks at local schools and supporting initiatives such as Open Doors Weekend, a nationwide scheme to increase awareness of the construction industry. All of this builds local goodwill for Leeds Victoria Gate, reflected in the project’s 43/50 Considerate Constructors Scheme score, rated Excellent or Exceptional on every aspect, including community.

 

 

VEHICLES

 

How to minimise potentially negative impacts on local infrastructure?

 

To reduce the number of heavy goods vehicles and vans going to and from Leeds Victoria Gate, which affects local road networks, the demolition team re-used 99% of all demolition waste on site for the piling mat. This avoided 650 vehicle journeys, cutting traffic congestion and reducing impacts on air quality, as well as saving £247,000 on disposal and materials costs. In addition, when the monthly meetings with local market traders identified that the loss of parking during the development was affecting market trading, Hammerson purchased and refurbished a nearby car park to help address the problem. Leeds City Council also agreed to the first half hour of parking being free for market customers, to further support trading. The completed Leeds Victoria Gate scheme will offer a multi-storey car park for up to 800 cars. Initiatives such as these have not only managed impacts, they have built local goodwill.

 

Find out more

James Rogers

Community Manager

Hammerson

 

http://sustainability.hammerson.com/

“It is one of our top priorities as a council to ensure that everyone in the city shares the opportunities provided by economic development as we forge forward for the future. We work closely with developers and companies setting up in the city to ensure that employment for local people is high on their agenda and I am delighted that John Lewis and Hammerson are taking their responsibilities seriously.”

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council