Final approval sought for £270m Leeds International Pool site plans
A final decision on massive £270m plans to redevelop the former site of one of the city’s most iconic buildings is set to be made by planning decision-makers at a meeting next week.
The former site of the Leeds International Pool building – which was demolished in 2009 – is now subject to plans which include a 33-storey residential tower, a hotel, offices and student accommodation.
After hearing presentations outlining early versions of the plans earlier this year, members of Leeds City Council’s decision-making City Plans Panel will rule on whether to allow the development on the three-acre site.
According to a report from Leeds City Council officers, building one would “comprise two residential towers”, of 33 and 22 storeys, providing 629 build to rent residential units.
Building two would be a 24-storey student residential building, providing 548 student bed spaces, while the 14-storey building three would be a “mixed use aparthotel building”, providing 120 hotel rooms and 3,000 square metres of office space.
The plans also include enhancements to pedestrian and cycle access around the site, a basement car and cycle park and two new access roads off Lisbon Street and Castle Street.
Outline permission – meaning more detailed plans are expected at a later stage – is also being sought for an 11-storey office building, which would provide a further 13,000 square metres of office space.
Despite the recommendation from council officers to approve the plans in principle, Leeds Civic Trust has submitted a letter of objection against the proposals, claiming the plans would “overdevelop” the site.
It also claimed the plans would not meet city centre targets for housing mix, as more than 90 per cent of the flats are only one or two bedroom, but the council’s own policies aims for a minimum of 20 per cent of new city centre flats to have three bedrooms.
The report, by Leeds City Council officers, recommends plans panel members approve the designs in principle, and leave further details to be sorted out by planning experts – this is known as a “defer and delegate” decision.
The document states: “[Any] harm has been considered within the context of the range of substantial planning benefits set out above and detailed in the appraisal.
“The proposals have been evolved to mitigate for harm as far as can be considered practicable and deliverable in order to limit this harm. This takes account of the significant weight afforded to the statutory duty to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving the setting of listed buildings and preserving or enhancing the
character or appearance of conservation areas.
“In summary, the ‘less than substantial’ harm is outweighed by considerable public benefits associated with the comprehensive redevelopment of this site and its surroundings.”
The old International Pool was built during the 1960s before opening in 1967.
Although designed to host international swimming competitions, the 50-metre pool was just centimetres short of Olympic length regulations, meaning major events could not be held there.
Since 2010, the council has operated two surface car parks on the site.
Members of Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel will meet to discuss the plans on Thursday, November 25.