Old pub site in Leeds set for new lease of life

The derelict Squinting Cat pub, pictured in the summer of 2012.
The derelict Squinting Cat pub, pictured in the summer of 2012.
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Plans for the redevelopment of the trouble-hit former site of a pub in Leeds have taken a significant step forward.

Leeds City Council bosses are poised to award a near-£2m contract to building firm Britcon for the construction of 18 new apartments on land in Swarcliffe once occupied by the Squinting Cat.

The deal’s start date has been set for next Monday, June 22, with a completion date of July 15 next year. A council report on the award of the contract to Britcon reveals that a total of five tenders were received last month.

The local authority’s pre-tender estimate for the cost of the project was around £2.4m, says the report. Britcon’s tender figure, however, was just under £1.95m.

The council report says: “This indicates that [Britcon’s] tender is very competitive whilst still fully meeting the specification of the scheme.”

Plans for the development – aimed in the main at older people – were given the green light in January this year.

Speaking at the time, Coun Peter Gruen (Lab, Cross Gates and Whinmoor) said: “This is the perfect site for local affordable housing for older people. By making homes that older people will want to live in, we can free up larger homes for families.

“This has been a real team effort – I’m glad that work will soon be starting on site to make these plans a reality.” The Squinting Cat shut down a number of years ago and subsequently fell into a serious state of disrepair.

It became a magnet for anti-social behaviour before being gutted by fire in 2013 and later demolished.

The new apartments being built by family-owned Britcon – which was founded in 1990 and has bases in Wakefield and Scunthorpe – will offer a mix of one and two bedrooms.