Architecturally Leeds has often turned its back to the Aire, focusing more on the centre to the North rather than creating a Riverfront like Paris, Bristol or Hamburg, but this is changing now. The Climate Innovation District spans both sides of the River Aire, to maximize the number of people with beautiful River views and link the two sides of the city together.

To create a district with a thriving community, we needed to ensure the two sides would become closely knitted together. So from the beginning, our plans for the area have included a uniquely designed, pedestrian bridge, that will be intrinsic to the Climate Innovation District, and indeed both sides of the Southbank. The new 50 metre Bridge will make it easy to stroll across to the opposite side of the district without having to take a detour across a busy road bridge. But we wanted it to be more than just a piece of infrastructure linking the two sides. We wanted it to be an attraction in its own right, a stunning piece of design unlikely anything else in the city. Thanks to the work of Gagarin Studios and DP Squared who assisted with its design and creation, this is exactly what we’ve achieved. 

Watch the bridge arrive in the District:


Connecting communities 

The bridge will connect the communities around the Climate Innovation District, as well as those who live in the district itself, giving more people an easy, safe pedestrian route into Leeds city centre along the river. The aim is to encourage more people to walk or cycle, using their cars less, and in turn, reducing their carbon footprints. The bridge will be particularly useful for children attending the Ruth Gorse Academy who live North of the River in Cross Green. Thanks to the new bridge they’ll be able to halve the time it takes for them to get to School, and more importantly, they’ll be able to cross seven fewer roads than they do currently.

Jonathan Wilson, our Development Director said: “This new bridge 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”

Carrying low carbon heating  

But the bridge isn’t just to carry people. It will also contain a section of the Leeds District Heat network, which will carry heat from the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery facility to homes and businesses in Leeds South Bank. That way we can help hook more people up to a sustainable and low carbon heat source, spreading the environmental benefits of the Climate Innovation District beyond the district itself.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning 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.”

Coming this spring 

We’ve been so excited to get this bridge in place ever since the first designs for the district were complete. Now we’ve made a massive step towards realising our vision, as the bridge is now on-site, the foundations are in place, and soon it will be lifted into place. The bridge is set to open in spring this year.

A bridge to a low carbon future 

More cycling and more walking thanks to people using the bridge, as well as fewer gas boilers thanks to people getting their heating from the district heat network all means better air quality for the city and lower carbon emission, helping to tackle climate change.

That’s pretty impressive for one bridge. Even one as awesome looking at this. If you can't wait to see what it'll look like once it's in, then you can get a good impression from this image:



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