LEEDS: £270m Former International Pool site plans approved by planning chiefs
International Pool Artist Impression
Huge £270m plans to redevelop the former site of one of the city’s most iconic buildings have been described as “strong”, “attractive” and “well-designed”, as council decision-makers approved the scheme in principle this 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.
And, despite some misgivings around public safety within the finished site, members of Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel approved the scheme in principle.
Commenting on the application, panel member Coun Neil Walshaw (Lab) said: “There is a lot of strong work in this application – I really rather like it.
“I am concerned around the safety aspects. If there is any way we can condition this, I would like to. I’m sure the applicants wouldn’t want an unsafe development.”
Coun Caroline Gruen (Lab) added: “This is a very attractive and well designed scheme. It is well-considered and appropriate to where it is.
“On balance I think it is a good scheme. The barrier is a bit unsightly and it could improve a lot. Overall I think it is a good scheme.”
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.
Coun Kayleigh Brooks (Lab) was concerned about potential safety issues around people walking the streets around the buildings at night, adding: “I have concerns about height, an impact on the heritage aspect and it’s the height that is leading to a potential safety issue for access through the site or beside the site.
“It’s obviously a lot to do with your opinion, but I do think from a distance it’s not pleasant, but probably up close it might be quite attractive.”
Coun Paul Wadsworth (Con) said: “I like the scheme – it regenerates an area of the town we have struggled to regenerate for some time.”
Coun Neil Buckley (Con) said: “I do like this one. It looks like somebody has designed it, which we don’t always get. It finishes off that bit of Leeds. The car park is not a thing of beauty.”
A developer representative said work was being done to improve safety features on the plans.
Members of the panel agreed to approve the designs in principle, and leave further details to be sorted out by planning officers – this is known as a “defer and delegate” decision.
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.
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