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NEWS ROUNDUP: Leeds International Pool plans


14/05/21 | Developers have released the first artist’s impression of a proposed £270m redevelopment of the former Leeds International Pool site.

Lisbon Street Developments, former in partnership with Marrico Asset Management and Helios Real Estate are set to have early plans discussed by Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel next week for the site which is set to include a 33-storey residential tower and hotel.

The 2.8-acre site has been used as a car park since the pools’ demolition in 2009.

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”

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”.

No final decision will be made on the plans by members of the committee, as more detailed plans are set to be submitted later this year. However, councillors will be asked for their views on the proposed uses, the public pedestrian routes, and the emerging design and scale of the buildings.

Mark Barnes, a director at Marrico, said “We are really pleased to have reached
this key milestone in the delivery of our ambitious scheme in Leeds; DLA our architects, planning consultants and the wider team have worked closely with Leeds city planning team.

“That is why the buildings’ design emphasises wellbeing, light, quality materials and finish, as well as access to substantial outdoor space and amenities in line with the city’s historic grid pattern – all within easy access of the nearby transport, parks, culture and entertainment.”

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.

The building had long divided opinions in Leeds, and became an emblem of the ‘brutalist’ architectural style popular in the 1960s.

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.

The building was originally supposed to be replaced by a 24-storey skyscraper called The Spiracle, but proposals were abandoned following a downturn in the residential property market. Since 2010, the council has operated two surface car parks on the site.

(LDRS | Richard Beecham)



VETERAN Yorkshire fundraiser Jeffrey Long MBE has completed his epic walking challenge in aid of two armed forces charities at the War Memorial in Bradford city centre.

Jeffrey, who turns 90 later this year, set off two months ago to walk 190 miles in aid of The Royal British Legion and Support Our Paras (The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Charity). He is completing his trek just one day before the RBL’s centenary.

The former paratrooper from Bingley, who has single-handedly raised more than £300,000 for charity over the past 14 years, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks - it has been hard, of course, to complete the 190 miles, but in spite of some physical problems I’ve managed to keep going.  I do have a bad back and an ankle injury from my days as a para, so I’ve had to push myself at times.

“But I’ve been lucky with the weather, although I did encounter cold days, hail, rain and strong winds, but I also met some lovely, encouraging people and I’ve had so many toots and waves from people in all types of vehicles. Meeting so many friendly faces and supporters whilst out on my walk has really helped to keep me going. I’ll finish my last mile walking up to the Cenotaph.”

Great-grandfather Jeffrey, who served with the Paras from 1952-1957, has walked 100 miles for the RBL to mark their centenary, plus a further 90 miles for Support Our Paras. He said: "I am very proud of my time as a paratrooper and this is just my way of giving something back."

Despite having daily chemotherapy and suffering back pain from a parachute malfunction in 1954 when he was serving with the 12th (Yorkshire) Parachute Battalion, Jeffrey has been hiking around the hills above his beloved Bingley to clock up the miles for his latest challenge, so far raising more than £3,200.

He will be welcomed back to Bradford by the city’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Doreen Lee, and a bottle of Royal British Legion champagne, donated by Eminent Wines founder and CEO, Jerome Jacober.

Jeffrey Long began fundraising in 2007 when he marched 650 miles from London to Lausanne in Switzerland, carrying a 30kg backpack, to raise money for the RBL. Since then, he has completed dozens of charity hikes, including 100 miles along the south coast to support the RBL.

He has also attracted celebrity support after his fundraising efforts went viral in 2017 thanks to comedians Jason Manford and Iain Lee.

Helen Mason, Royal British Legion Community Fundraising Manager, said: “Jeffrey is one of our most remarkable fundraisers, and we are delighted to have his support. He has dedicated his retirement to raising money for our armed forces community and this has been a fantastic effort. His commitment to our Armed Forces community is second to none.”



Two lovestruck OAPs who first set eyes on each other while playing Mary and Joseph in a school nativity aged five have struck up a whirlwind romance - 75 years later.

Tony Jackson, 81, and Gloria Loukes, 80, were pals at school in the 1940s before going their separate ways aged 11 and eventually on to have their own families and careers.

Gloria organised a school reunion in 2003 which, although Tony didn't attend, led to the couple and their spouses meeting up in their home town of Sheffield, South Yorks.

However, after this they did not see each other again for another 17 years.

Then, in August last year, Tony was going through some old things when he found a picture of Gloria before digging out her phone number from 2003 and ringing to “see if she was still alive”.

From the first call the pair hit it off and since then they have met up in person more than half a dozen times and spoken on the phone up to six times each and every day.

Adding to their fairy-tale romance is the fact Gloria has cherished a heart-shaped, glass piece of jewellery that Tony gave her all the way back in the mid-1940s.

The couple, who lost their spouses at around the same time in 2017, say they are “excited” about the future and have four trips planned around the UK for later this year.

Gloria said: “After my husband died I thought that was it, I didn’t think about ever finding someone else again or even consider it.

“But then Tony called and was absolutely lovely. Since then we have got on so well and had such a lovely time together that we want to keep it going.”

The gran-of-one added: “Tony is very clever, which I like, and makes me laugh all the time, which is obviously very important indeed.

“I feel very happy with him and lucky to have found him again.”

Tony, a granddad-of-16, said: “Over the summer I just happened to find this picture of Gloria that I had taken in 2003 with a landline number on it.

“I thought I’d try it to see if she was still alive and there she was. I was delighted to hear her voice and get chatting with her.

“In the end, we wanted to see if we were compatible together so she came to see me and it went really well, so it’s gone from there.

“We get on very well, Gloria’s a wonderful woman.”

Tony and Gloria were both born and raised in Sheffield, South Yorks., and first met each other aged five in 1945 when they attended Pomona Street School.

Shortly after starting school, they were cast as Mary and Joseph in a nativity and it was not long afterwards that Tony gave Gloria the heart-shaped piece of jewellery.

He said: “I have no idea where I got it from but I remember liking Gloria an awful lot and I think that’s why I gave it to her.”

Gloria added: “It was such a special gift because in those days young girls like me didn’t have jewellery, it just wasn’t as common back then.

“So to receive something so beautiful was really important to me and I think that’s why I have held on to it all these years.

“And I did always maintain a soft spot for Tony, even though we were very young I liked him a lot.”

Fantastic black and white photos show the pair as youngsters, including one school photo in which they can both be seen alongside their classmates.

After going their separate ways aged 11, Gloria went on to become a primary school teacher and moved to Biggin Hill in Kent and Tony became an engineer for BT at stayed in Sheffield.

Both married and had children.

After than more than half a century passed before they saw each other again, following a school reunion in 2003 that Tony failed to attend.

He said he felt guilty he had not gone and called Gloria, one of the organisers, and apologised for not attending.

Tony then invited Gloria and her husband Frank up to have Sunday lunch with him and his wife, Jacqueline.

By sheer chance, he had a picture taken with both women and noted down Gloria’s landline.

After that, it was another 17 years before he rediscovered the photo while going through old things and rang the number, which he was also able to find among his things.

Gloria failed to answer initially but then dialled 1471 and got through to Tony, who has battled cancer, Covid-19 and Parkinson’s in recent years.

She said: “I was wonderful to hear from him again and after only a few weeks we decided to meet up.

“It went really well and we haven’t stopped since.”

Under coronavirus restrictions, Gloria and Tony set up their own bubble so they could continue to see each other, which they said was “very important”.

The couple says they bond over poetry, cracking jokes and reminiscing over old times.

They are considering narrowing the 200-mile gap that currently exists between them by moving in together, but want to wait for some months before making a decision.

In the meantime, they have exciting trips to the Isle of Wight, Norfolk and the Chelsea Flower Show planned together.

Tony said: “We have lots of lost time to make up for.”

The couple would like to appeal for any other children in their class at Pomona Street School, who should be in the picture, to come forward and say hello.

Pomona Street School is now known as Porter Croft Primary School.

(SWNS | Barnaby Kellaway)

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