Thorpe Park Leeds to contribute £360m per annum to city region economy

Left to right: Sir John Kingman, Chairman of Legal & General Group, Kevin McCabe, Chairman of Scarborough Group International and Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council. Picture credit: David Empson

Developers of Thorpe Park Leeds have hosted Sir John Kingman, Chairman and Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal & General Group Plc to showcase construction progress on the site as a leading example of Northern Powerhouse investment.

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive and Martin Farrington, Director of City Development for Leeds City Council as well as Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire joined the delegation, which included other senior executives from Legal & General, to discuss city wide initiatives where the Group has declared investment.

Thorpe Park Leeds was the first UK development to benefit from investment from Legal & General Capital following its partnership with the Department of International Trade to co-invest £1.5bn into pipeline projects.  This unique collaboration was announced at 10 Downing Street in 2015.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive at Legal & General Group said, “”The vision for Thorpe Park Leeds, inspired by Kevin McCabe at Scarborough and Tom Riordan at the Council, is fast becoming a reality as a result of positive constructive collaboration.  Significantly boosting local jobs and economic growth, both during construction and over the long term, our investment into Thorpe Park Leeds is an example of how the City is demonstrating that devolution – with local empowerment – is a powerful catalyst to further progress and prosperity.  Legal & General has committed over £600 million to Leeds but more needs to be invested. With the Budget approaching, we need a Budget for devolution – a Budget for real growth and empowerment.”

Kevin McCabe, Chairman of Scarborough Group International that is developing Thorpe Park Leeds addressed guests with an important message about how the scheme is supporting major regeneration through critical infrastructure works that will unlock land for the delivery of up to 7,000 much needed homes and amenities in East Leeds.

McCabe revealed that the Leeds City Region economy will be £360m per annum larger through the delivery of Thorpe Park Leeds and the scheme’s cumulative GVA generated between 2018 and 2028 will be around £3bn*.

He said. “Through our ground-breaking partnership, we have been able to accelerate development on site with a 300,000 sq ft retail and leisure park that is now well underway for completion in Autumn 2018.  Major progress is also being made for the first phase of the critical East Leeds Orbital Link Road and railway bridge which will ultimately facilitate a new railway station with park and ride.

“Thorpe Park Leeds is a class-leading regeneration catalyst in Leeds and we are honoured to showcase success to date.”

Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said, “I’m delighted that Leeds is leading the way with Legal & General’s investment and very much welcome its commitment to our city.

“This investment in East Leeds is making a significant and positive contribution to the ongoing transformation of the area through the creation of new homes, jobs and better connectivity.

“Thorpe Park Leeds is another world class example of successful and innovative regeneration in Leeds, and one that we’re very keen to build on.”

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council also said, “Excellent schemes like Thorpe Park are why Leeds has recently come out at the top of studies about inclusive growth, housing investment and quality of life. We work in very active partnership with our business partners to make sure that in Leeds projects are delivered on time and on budget and in a way that maximises the benefit to local people.  It was very good to see at first hand the results of this collaborative Leeds spirit and I look forward to the opening by the end of 2018.”

During the meeting an introduction was also made to Professor Peter Slee, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University to formally start the engagement process for talent pipeline and job creation strategies. Specifically, Legal & General is keen to work closely with the University to exploit this potential across its other investment interests in the Leeds City Region.

Professor Slee, said, “We are delighted to be engaged with the project and work with the team to maximise potential and benefits for people in the economy of Leeds.”

Thorpe Park Leeds is already a well-established 800,000 sq ft business park with over 60 occupiers including IBM, National Grid, Atkins and United Utilities.

Delivery of phase two is now underway to provide 1.35 million sq ft of mixed accommodation which includes the new 300,000 sq ft shopping and leisure park and the first phase of 940,000 sq ft of offices. The development also includes 300 new homes by Redrow and a 113-acre public park with sports facilities.

More than 100 new jobs have been created so far during phase two delivery through the main contractor GMI Construction and its supply chain.  Thirty per cent of the jobs have been taken up by Leeds residents and in addition to the new jobs, 10 new apprenticeships have also been created.

This achievement reflects a commitment made by development partners Scarborough International Properties and Legal & General Capital to support and promote local employment and skill opportunities wherever possible. It is part of an established partnership with Leeds City Council and its Employment & Skills Service.

Scarborough Group and Legal & General are committed to support and promote local employment and skill opportunities wherever possible and are part of an established partnership with Leeds City Council and its Employment & Skills Service.