Kirkstall Island Farm (KIF): 2018

Leeds Beckett Landscape Dpt, Feed Leeds, Kirkstall Valley Park, Kirkstall Valley Development Trust (KVDT), Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, and other interested parties have been working on options for the future of the council agricultural land at Burley Mills – in keeping with all of the above.

KIF Logo3

A concept scheme / discussion document was created by Leeds Beckett staff and researchers, and then developed by Feed Leeds as a ‘co-managed’ project with KVDT. The scheme flows directly from the Arup report to create a Community / Commercial Farm, Community Park and Nature Reserve.

The document’s original purpose was to engage with the simultaneous threat and opportunity presented by FAS2 – which was always likely to be game-changing. FAS2 might potentially have done away with all the land (to make flood lagoons), or saved most of it and provided seed corn for necessary infrastructure – or anything between. It later emerges that the farm should escape major flood works, but then it was reported that it might be entirely planted with trees, and the jury remains out. We have been advised that should the farm survive, the flood risk should drop over time as natural flood measures upstream come into effect. The opportunity for the farm project to benefit from FAS2 investment remains. The revised design below therefore includes fewer new water channels because water retention is no longer a priority. Channels do remain a good way to provide security with enhanced wildlife and amenity, so we have retained one in our proposals – with lifting bridges to provide controlled access, along with two of the proposed river bridges and the associated new paths. The revised scheme also reinstates a major role for Leeds 2023 in the form of a performance space well away from housing, with the whole of the park area being a legacy resource for the 2023 Festival.

The Concept Document is here: KIF-5.compressed

The scheme is subject to permissions from LCC, major funding, and local buy-in. The group taking these ideas forward plan to consult with the local community, using well-established Participatory Design techniques, as soon as they have worked out what is feasible. They can be contacted by emailing

NB Tom Bliss and Feed Leeds withdrew from this project in October 2018,
see: 10 10 22 Feed Leeds Minutes Oct 2018 (PUBLISHED)
It is now being progressed, to a slightly different vision, by KVDT

KIF title page

updated master plan 02062018