Planning approved for pioneering sustainable development at Yorkshire Water’s Esholt site

A design illustration of the development at Esholt
Corporate and financial General news


A pioneering sustainable housing and industrial development on unused land around Yorkshire Water’s Esholt site, which will provide around 2,000 jobs, has moved a step closer after receiving approval from Bradford City Council.

Keyland Developments Ltd, Yorkshire Water’s sister company, has been granted permission to transform 180 acres of land on the site, which is currently unused.

Liz Barber, CEO of Yorkshire Water said: “As Yorkshire’s second largest landowner we are committed to ensuring the land works in the best interest of people in the region. We have worked closely with Bradford City Council to develop our plans for the site and planning permission is a significant step forward in delivering that aim for the land around our Esholt site.

“This is a landmark development and one that will form a large part of plans for sustainable growth in Bradford and the economy in the area. We look forward to working closely with Bradford City Council and the West Yorkshire combined authority under Tracy Brabin to deliver a project that will benefit our community locally and the wider region.

“Alongside the new development, we are already working hard to redevelop the historic Esholt Hall and transform it into a flagship Centre of Excellence for learning and training, offering a state-of-the-art venue for our colleagues and future graduates and apprentices to improve their skills.”

An innovative employment element will see the delivery of up to 100,000m2 of quality, sustainable workspaces to accommodate a mix of industry, with a particular focus on bio-tech businesses, vertical farms and industries that can make the most of heat, power and water generated by the treatment works to maximise sustainability.

The planning permission includes 150 homes, covering a wide spectrum from 1-bedroom maisonettes to 5 bedroom detached houses to appeal to a diverse group of homebuyers.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “This is a really exciting development and just goes to show how unused land can be transformed into a thriving community with much-needed sustainable housing and a hub for new green business activity.

“As Mayor of West Yorkshire, I made a pledge to tackle the climate emergency, protect our environment and enable the region to achieve its goal of being net zero carbon by 2038 at the latest. This is exactly the type of innovative development we need to see in our region to help deliver on that promise.” 

A key focus throughout the masterplanning of Esholt is on showing how homes and businesses can reduce their water consumption through innovative design, in a move that Yorkshire Water hopes will influence how developments can contribute to meeting the challenge of supplying a growing region with the water it needs, without impacting the environment.

Luke Axe, land and planning director at Keyland Development Ltd, said: “This is a significant step forwards in the delivery of one of the UK’s most exciting sustainable developments and is the culmination of a year of hard work by our inspiring project team.

“We are passionately committed to bringing forward a development of excellence that the team, the locality and the wider region can be proud of and hold up as a beacon of positive living. We have an exciting year ahead of us ensuring that Esholt realises its full potential and we can’t wait to activate the plans.”

As part of the development, almost £2m will be spent to improve transport links and encourage alternative transport use, including upgrades to the A658/B6152 junction, the extension of local bus services, improvements to pedestrian and cycle links to the development and travel planning measures such as car clubs and car sharing initiatives for the employment site.