One of tallest buildings in North planned in Leeds

Initial design proposals for a 36-storey student flats development in Wade Lane, Leeds city centre. IMAGE: OConnell East Architects/Olympian Homes
Initial design proposals for a 36-storey student flats development in Wade Lane, Leeds city centre. IMAGE: OConnell East Architects/Olympian Homes
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DECISION-makers in Leeds have backed plans to build one of the North of England’s tallest buildings in an area of the city they claimed was now “blossoming”.

Councillors on the city plans panel voted through proposals for a 37-storey structure on Wade Lane, provided the developers contribute more than £400,000 towards infrastructure improvements.

The block would rival the city’s existing high-rise constructions such as Bridgewater Place and Sky Plaza – and developers hope to start work as early as autumn this year.

It would be built close to the Merrion Centre and Leeds Arena, and is hoped to house more than 750 students.

Applicants Olympian Homes were quizzed by panel members in Civic Hall on Thursday.

Coun Dan Cohen (Con) asked about potential evacuation time for people in top floor flats to escape in the event of an emergency.

Applicant Simon Murray-Twinn responded: “We are working with the local authority on a strategy with the fire service.

“It’s a fairly lengthy report, but we can make that available. With the current climate, this is a key point.

“With our recent proposals, it’s the first question our partners are asking. We take looking after tenants – humans – very seriously. We must make sure, post-Grenfell, that we are robust.”

As part of the plans, wind mitigation measures, which developers call “totem structures”, would also be put in place.

The development would mean knocking down Hulme House, an office block which currently sits on the site.

When councillors had a chance to comment on the application, a chorus of support broke out among the panel. Coun David Blackburn (Green) called the scheme “very good”, while Coun Asghar Khan (Lab) dubbed the plans “remarkable”.

Chair of the panel Coun James McKenna (Lab) summed up: “This has been partnership working between councillors and officers – the area has come on from what a horrible part of Leeds it used to be, and now it is blossoming.”

The agreement was to delegate the application to a planning officer. It is expected to be accepted soon, provided developers Olympian Homes agree to contribute £430,000 to road and travel improvements in the area.

It is hoped work will start on the site in October this year and could be finished by 2021.