University of Leeds statement: Headley

The University of Leeds has been working closely with Leeds City Council to explore the potential for and feasibility of developing University-owned land at Headley, as part of Leeds City Council’s Site Allocations Plan

Having fully examined the position very carefully, the University Council - our governing body - has made the decision not to pursue this opportunity. That decision was confirmed to Leeds City Council before the consultation process began.

A University spokesperson said: “Our charitable status means that as trustees, members of the University Council have a responsibility to ensure decisions do not expose the University’s assets, beneficiaries and reputation to undue risk. After careful consideration of this development, it was concluded that a combination of risks and costs currently outweigh the possible benefits.

“Our work to explore the feasibility of the development has revealed the significant up-front costs and scale of investment required to provide the infrastructure for a development of this size.

“It has also become clear that it would be costly and problematic to find alternative farmland for the University’s important agricultural and environmental research which takes place at Headley. This world-leading research has developed rapidly and, given the Government’s focus on sustainability and food security, it is likely to expand in the future.

“With the University implementing a new and ambitious strategic plan, we also believe this progress would be compromised by the significant long-term costs and resources demanded by this project. This strategic plan underpins our absolute commitment to providing outstanding research and education, which will enable us to play our full part in driving the economic, social and cultural development of the City and the Region.”

The Leeds City Council statement regarding this decision can be found here.

For further information, contact the University press office on