"Historical" ship names, are a common thing in Starfleet (the Enterprise NCC-1701 was named for the US aircraft carrier - though this was retconned in-universe to be in honour of the first space shuttle - which had been so named following a letter writing campaign of Star Trek fans - and then retconned again to account for the NX-01). However, while there has been an HMS Leeds, it does not seem to be all that notable (just another clapped out old destroyer in WWII which never saw any real action since it seems to have spent most of the war under repair).
I've tried to find if there has been any significant astronomer or scientist named Leeds, which is also a common source for ship names in Starfleet (Curie, Darwin, Pascal) - other than an archaeologist and paleontologist, I couldn't find anyone suitable.
Lastly, I tried to see if anyone involved in DS9 production had the surname Leeds (sometimes happens). Couldn't find anything.
However, Memory Beta (incredibly unreliable source) flatly states that the ship is named for the City of Leeds. Given that there are other ships name for cities (Alnwick - another north of England town - and Bozemann in Montana), this is the most plausible explanation.