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LEONARDO BUILDING: Plans for student accommodation

LEONARDO BUILDING: Plans for student accommodation

Image: LDRS

Plans to allow a 476-bed student accommodation complex in two of Leeds city centre’s most recognisable buildings are set to go before planning chiefs at a meeting this week.

Planning chiefs are set to meet next week to discuss an application for the conversion of the Leonardo Building and Thoresby House to provide student accommodation. This, the report claims, would include the “part-demolition and alterations” to the existing extension of the Leonardo Building and the demolition of existing roofs.

The applicant, McLaren Property, also wants to add a two storey roof extension to the Leonardo Building and single storey to Leonardo Printworks and Thoresby.

A new-build 11-storey student accommodation building would be constructed in the existing car park. A listed building consent application has also been submitted to allow the work.

Both buildings were most recently used as offices by Leeds City Council.

Leeds City Council planning officers have recommended plans panel members approve the work in principle, adding: “In conclusion it is considered that the proposal would result in a high quality, appropriate development. The scheme would bring active use to an important historic building and would add to the vibrancy and vitality of the area and furthering its regeneration.

“The proposals would allow important underused historic areas of the listed buildings to be brought back into use and whilst it is acknowledged that there will be some (but not substantial) harm by virtue of the extent of demolition and alterations, this is of a tolerable level when balanced against the public benefits of the regeneration of the building.”

The site would be the latest in a number of student accommodation schemes in Leeds City Centre.

A document approved by Leeds City Council’s executive board earlier this year said the council had planned to complete the sale of the Leonardo and Thorseby buildings at some point over the next year.

The Leonardo Building dates back to 1900, when it was opened as a printworks. It was extended in the late 1990s and was used by Leeds City Council’s housing department.

Ide Real Estate announced back in December 2018 it wanted to create flexible office, hotel and living space. The plans were approved in April 2019, but no work has yet been done.

A Leeds City Council document from January 2020 warned that the sale of the Leonardo building was “not proceeding as anticipated”, and hoped a sale would be completed by the spring of that year.

Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel will discuss the plans on Thursday, June 10.

Words: Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporter


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