Plans to build 31-storey tower on Whitehall Road approved by Leeds council

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Plans to build a 31-storey tower in Whitehall Road have been approved in principle by Leeds City Council planning chiefs.

Blueprints for the scheme, next to Doncaster Monk Bridge near the city centre, include two towers, 26 and 31 storeys high, containing 488 flats. These would be linked by a podium level with “rooftop amenity” space. The plans also include space for 21 cars and 418 cycles.

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Members of the council’s City Plans Panel were supportive of the application, but warned the city centre needed more larger flats for families to live in.

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Members of the council’s City Plans Panel were supportive of the application. Picture: Simon Hulme.Members of the council’s City Plans Panel were supportive of the application. Picture: Simon Hulme.
Members of the council’s City Plans Panel were supportive of the application. Picture: Simon Hulme.

Addressing the members at the beginning of the meeting, a representative of City Island Management Ltd, claiming to speak on behalf of leaseholders in nearby City Island housing development, said the proposed towers were too high and out of character with the surrounding area.

He said: “We have engaged throughout the process and provided constructive feedback, but despite our lengthy consultation, none of our views have been taken into account in the final planning application, hence we feel the need to address you.”

“The development will stand head and shoulders above everything else in the area – you have to go a kilometre to Bridgewater Place to find a building of equal height. No other proposed developments in the area come close to 31 storeys.

“We feel the design is a missed opportunity. The blockish nature of the design will minimise design and build costs, but it is lacking in any creative vision.

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“The edge of the canal will soon resemble a depot of discarded fridges.”

Damien Sharkey, a representative on behalf of the developer said: “Lattitude blue [the developers’ name for the project] will bring much-needed housing to the city and add to the vibrancy and vitality of the area already in transition. The scheme supports Leeds’s strong growth ambitions and will being forward development on a prime brownfield site that has been vacant since 2005.

“We feel we have responded positively to your comments made in Aug 2021, and we hope members will support the application.”

Commenting on the application, Coun Robert Finnigan (Ind) said: “At this particular point, I am unhappy with one bedroom properties because I do think it encourages a transient population.”

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He later added: “The housing mix is unacceptable, I won’t be supporting it.”

Coun Kayleigh Brooks (Lab) said: “I do agree it’s too high. Reducing it down a bit would be preferable to 31 storeys. I don’t have a problem with the design.

“I am concerned at the lack of three beds. If you do start a family in this building you are going to be expected to move out to somewhere else. There needs to be more choice in terms of the amount of bedrooms available in the inner area and city centre.

“I don’t agree the need is not there.”

Coun Neil Walshaw (Lab) added: “I think it’s policy compliant. My reservations are with the mix. We want to see city centre developments as locations that you can stay in and spend more of your life in. We need to make more apartments that are more family friendly.”

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Coun Paul Wadsworth (Con) said: “There are so many developments to the south of the city centre. You walk down and there is a gate – you can’t cut through or walk through or anything. The public circulation is very important.”

The developers agreed in the meeting to add another three three-bed flats to bring the number up to 48 of the total.

The panel approved the plans in principle, with further details to be worked out between council planning officers and the developers.

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