Work has begun on an eye-catching new pocket park celebrating the beauty and heritage of the city’s twin waterways.

The new Whitehall Riverside Pocket Park will sit between the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and is set to include sustainable public seating areas, wildflowers and grassland.

Delivered through an innovative partnership between Leeds City Council, wellbeing and waterway charity Canal and River Trust and Groundwork, work on site has started this month, and the park will be open to the public by the end of the year.

At just over 3,200 square metres, the park will follow the linear layout of the space, with a path weaving through it leading to seating and viewpoint areas which will encourage visitors to sit and enjoy their surroundings. All materials proposed for the site are permeable and flood tolerant.

Helping to increase the biodiversity within the city centre, the project will add at least 17 new trees and a range of plants including wild garlic, wood anemones, bluebells, and daffodils. No healthy trees will be removed from the site.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “This stunning new green space is a fitting tribute to the history and natural beauty of the Leeds waterways which have played such an important part in shaping Leeds over the centuries.

“The park will not only give people a chance to sit and appreciate their surroundings in an area which currently has no public seating, it will also be an example of how the city is working together to create a cleaner, greener, more sustainable Leeds.”

Funding for the park has come from Leeds City Council's city centre enhancements fund along with money from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government’s Pocket Park Fund, and The Veolia Environmental Trust’s Landfill Communities Fund.

Becca Dent, strategic delivery programme manager at Canal and River Trust said: “This is a project close to my heart, that’s been a few years in the making and it’s great to see work begin onsite.

"Helping people to connect with their local canal or river is a hugely important part of what our charity does as independent research shows that being by water can really help boost our happiness and wellbeing.

She added: “Whether that’s creating a city centre pocket park as a place to relax by water, organising activities like canoeing, paddleboarding or fishing sessions, or continuing our towpath improvement and signage projects, we want everyone to be able to access and enjoy the benefits of spending time by their nearest waterway.”

Adrian Curtis, executive director at Groundwork Yorkshire said: “Groundwork is immensely proud to have worked with so many partners to make this new pocket park a reality. From an initial idea about how to make better use of the space available to the city after the terrible impact of Storm Eva in 2015 we have worked hard to create a workable design and raise the funds to deliver it. The new space will not only create a new space for those who live and work in Leeds but also enhance local biodiversity and is a further step in the transformation of the city’s waterfront.”