Planning chiefs debate £270m Leeds International Pool site plans

Early blueprints for the former site of one of Leeds’ most recognisable buildings went before planning chiefs today, as developers prepare to submit full plans for redevelopment.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 11:39 am

The former site of the city’s international pool building – which was demolished in 2009 – is now subject to £270m plans, which include a 33-storey residential tower and a hotel.

An early form of the plans, known as a pre-application, went before Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel, attracting comments from members – with some praising the buildings’ designs.

Plans for the scheme, known as Lisbon Square, include 11,000 square metres of office space, 550 student flats, 629 residential flats, and an “aparthotel”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

An artist's impression of the Lisbon St development.

The plans also include improvements to the existing pedestrian and cycle way to the edge of the site. The developers claim more than half of the site is to remain as “landscaped and public realm areas”.

Coun Colin Campbell (Lib Dem) told the meeting: “We haven’t discussed the design much but we look as if we are going in the right direction.

“In the green space, which is much made of, there are a couple of areas of concern. The other landscaping between tower blocks is the Grand Canyon approach to landscaping – you have high walls and not much space between them.”

Coun Kayleigh Brooks (Lab) called for greater visibility of the site’s walkways, adding: “(There is a) lack of accessibility through the site to the green space. Later on at night it is terrifying to walk through throughfares without other people around.”

Coun Graham Latty (Con) said: “I have no great problem with this. I think the design is attractive.

“The point that bothers me is that this is an area of Leeds that was not always person-friendly. We have students on this site and everywhere they want to go, it is not convenient from their point of view.”

Coun Al Garthwaite called for anti-graffiti paint on the side of the building, to reduce the risk of tagging.

As this was a pre-application, no decision has yet been made on the site. A full application for the site is expected to be submitted later this year. If eventually approved, developers hope work will start on site early in 2022.

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.