A new park was launched this week at Thorpe Park Leeds, offering an oasis of green space and natural landscape for public enjoyment.

This forms part of the next significant phase of development to deliver health and wellbeing provisions at the major mixed-use destination that is evolving into a new community in East Leeds.

Central Park is an eight-acre green space located between The Springs retail and leisure park and the new homes development by Redrow.  Designed by award-winning landscape architects Ares, it now provides a nature haven and peaceful walking route for homeowners, business park occupiers and the wider community.  The space will complement further plans to deliver the adjacent 113-acre Green Park which will also provide new sports facilities.

Over 375 new trees have been planted with hundreds of metres of hedgerow and six large ponds providing habitats for birds and amphibians. A huge variety of flora and fauna species are also planted across all areas of the site to provide food for pollinators, habitat space for insects and nesting for birds. Wildflower meadows, species rich grassland and woodland buffer creates a natural environment amid the bustle of the business park.

Central Park also includes running routes and exercise trails to encourage walkers, cyclists and equestrians to use the park with links to local Public Rights of Way with the surrounding communities, as well as safe routes for local wildlife away from the road.

Scheme developer Scarborough Group International (SGI) hosted a small gathering with Ares Landscape Architects to officially launch the park this week. Leeds City Council Deputy Leader and Temple Newsam Ward Cllr Debra Coupar, Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate and Temple Newsam Ward Cllr Helen Hayden, and Cllr Pauleen Grahame of Crossgates and Whinmoor Ward were present to welcome the opening on behalf of the residents of East Leeds.

Adam Varley, Commercial Director at SGI said, “We’re delighted to officially open Central Park at Thorpe Park Leeds as an important part of our public realm.  Since the onset of the pandemic there has been an increasing need to connect with nature and the delivery of fluid and pedestrian friendly public realm has become a critical part of what we offer at Thorpe Park Leeds.

“We aptly coincide this opening with World Wellbeing Week which promotes an overall awareness for social, physical, emotional, financial, career, community and environmental wellbeing.  We are hosting our own Health and Wellbeing Week at Thorpe Park Leeds through our ParkLife community engagement platform with free activities including outdoor bootcamp and fitness classes, virtual yoga, cycle training and health checks and nutrition seminars.”

Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate and Temple Newsam Ward Cllr Helen Hayden said, “We are delighted to be part of the official opening of Central Park, a beautiful place in the Thorpe Park Development. It is great to see how well planned and designed employment, residential and leisure areas can contribute to an increase in biodiversity and the fight against climate change. Central Park provides another wonderful green space to enjoy, which we all appreciated greatly, as well as linking and supporting the new and established communities of East Leeds.”

Richard Stefanidis, Associate at Ares Landscape Architects said, “We are very proud to have been involved in the development of Thorpe Park for the past 10 years. In that time, we have helped deliver our client’s vision for a step change in the quality and variety of external environments available to workers, visitors and now residents to Thorpe Park.

“The importance of outdoor spaces on the health and wellbeing of these users cannot be overstated. We have transformed the Business Park of old into a walkable, mixed-use neighbourhood, which enjoys greens spaces of real scale and significance, integrated into wider green networks and routes to the open countryside. We look forward to the next 10 years as we continue to develop future phases of the Park.”

Thorpe Park Leeds is an established business, retail and leisure destination located at Junction 46, M1.  It is already successful with 900,000 sq ft of workspace, a 350,000 sq ft retail and leisure park, 4* hotel and spa and supporting amenities employing over 5,000 people.

The next phase of development at Thorpe Park Leeds is transforming the site into a new community for East Leeds and follows a unique £162 million investment deal with Legal & General Capital in 2015. A 1 million sq ft mixed-use expansion is underway featuring Grade A offices, housing and public realm.

The first section of the ‘East Leeds Orbital Route’ is also part of the development, providing a key piece of transport infrastructure connecting north and east Leeds and unlocking land for the future construction of over 7,000 new homes.

The Springs is a vibrant shopping and leisure attraction at the heart of Thorpe Park Leeds.  Attractions include the UK’s first purpose-designed ODEON Luxe cinema, Next, Boots, M&S, H&M, Pure Gym, Gino D’Acampo and more.

Further plans include a 113-acre public park with sports and wellbeing facilities for the community and the adjacent Brown Moor site is identified for further employment opportunities.

Thorpe Park Leeds has also been chosen for a new railway station and associated Park and Ride, connecting directly to Leeds City Centre in less than eight minutes. The overall development is expected to be complete by 2035 with the creation of 15,000 new jobs.