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In light of the closue of the International Pool and opening of the JCCS soon, when can we expect demolition to start at the Intl. Pool and therefore any construction of The Spiracle?
 

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Fate of city pool site still not decided



The Spiracle planned for the International Pool site


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View GalleryBy Paul Robinson
THE FATE of the Leeds International Pool site remains undecided – nearly a year after its sell-off was due to be completed.
Plans to replace the neglected complex with a cylindrical 24-storey residential tower called "The Spiracle" were first unveiled in late 2005.

And, last January, Leeds City Council was said to be weeks away from signing a deal to sell the site to its preferred developer, HBG Properties. Demolition work was reportedly set to start once the pool shut in the autumn.

Three months on from its closure, however, there are no sign of bulldozers moving in on the building, on Westgate next to the inner ring road.

Now the YEP has learned that the council has yet to conclude its sale to London-based HBG.

Documents lodged with the Government's Land Registry show the pool is still under local authority ownership.

Today, though, council leader Andrew Carter stressed the project was moving forward.

Discussions were continuing with HBG, he said, but could not be rushed because of the complex nature of the scheme.

Coun Carter said it was expected a planning application for the development would be submitted in or around April. It was unclear whether the sell-off would be finalised before that time, however.

"This is a site of huge importance, both in terms of the style and type of development we have there, and in terms of its value," said Coun Carter. "We must get things absolutely right."

Design work on the Spiracle was carried out byLondon firm Make Architects, led by Ken Shuttleworth – the man behind the capital's famed "gherkin" skyscraper.

The Leeds tower would be home to nearly 150 apartments sitting above a basement car park.

The blueprint for the rest of the site includes four eight-storey office buildings and landscaped public space.

A spokeswoman for HBG said: "All parties involved are working towards a successful completion."

The pool dates back to the 1960s and has been regarded as one of Leeds's least attractive buildings.

Designed by Pontefract architect John Poulson – later jailed for corruption – the pool was too narrow for eight-lane Olympic standards.

It closed for the final time in October, ahead of the opening of a £16m aquatics centre at the John Charles sports complex in Beeston.

Leeds City Council website


The full article contains 392 words and appears in EP Leeds First & County newspaper.Last Updated: 10 January 2008 9:44 AM
 

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Some people I'm doing another project with are involved in this also. They said about letting rainwater in and making it an indoor park with swans for a while. I liked the idea personally- why does everything have to be "normal". It's all going to be demolished anyway.
 

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I'm quite confident a tall building will go on the site, whether it is Spiracle or not. It's a relitavely large site within the inner ring road. If tall buildings are getting built outside the city core (ie outside inner ring road/river aire boundary) then I'm quite confident for a tall here, particularly considering it is in one of the skyscraper development zones in the skyline strategy.

I think there are architectural merits to the building, but the city must move forward.
 

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Shows how important it is to present shop fronts, surfaces and signage well! If you compare King Edward Street before pedestrianisation it was similarly bad. Now it's one of the nicest shopping streets in the city centre.
 

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Yes it was reported on City Talk earlier, but what is going to happen now with the site?

2 inaccuracies in what you just said: we don't know that CP has been cancelled. Infact, the last we heard of it, it was still on the boards. And secondly, how do you know it is going to be CJ stuff? It may just stay a brownfield site for a while.
 

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Nothing is wrong with it but its been cancelled, or at least put on hold, because of the economic situation atm.

There were mid rise proposals before though, with the tower at the centre. So the midrise bit is just the CJ bit...
 

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It's strange to think that that enormous roof is supported by those 4 concrete pillars.

It'll be sad when they get rid of the roof- all they need to do is essentially put some glass around it now and it'd be an exhibition space!
 

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All this demolition seems a little short sighted, especially now we can see the core structure. I didn't know it could be demolished in such a 'careful' way. If I did I would have suggested transforming the structure into a concert hall/exhibition space at a much earlier stage.
 

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http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/Leeds-International-Swimming-Pool-What.6016646.jp
Leeds International Swimming Pool: What will replace it?
27 January 2010

Leeds International Swimming Pool was a landmark building which was controversial even before it was built. Now it's finally gone, Neil Hudson asks what will replace it...

Not too long ago, back in the pre-credit crunch days when grandiose architectural projects seemed to float on the wind like so many dandelion clocks, Leeds International Pool was going to be replaced by something called the Spiracle, a towering residential development which looked like a wobbly stack of dinner plates.

But then, like other flamboyant city centre projects, the plan was dropped.

But the pool had been closed and was beyond saving.

Toward the end of last year, the pool building, with its iconic roof, was torn down, piece by piece.

The last part to disappear was one of the huge re-inforced concrete uprights which supported the roof.

Watching it being taken down by a modified crane was like watching a mechanical dinosaur munching its way through a plant.

The pile of rubble the pool left was several storeys high.

So, what now for the three-acre site?

The short answer is: a car park which will open in a month's time with space for 110 cars. A somewhat uninspiring answer, given what was planned for the site.

However, in the longer term, council leaders say they want something inspirational.

Jean Dent is director of development at Leeds City Council. She said the council would look for a project which had the impact and gravitas of the Rose Bowl and Broadcasting Place.

She said: "We have returned part of it to a car park, because that's what it was before.

"We have contemplated putting it back on the market but with the banks not lending money for commercial developments, it is unlikely anyone will buy it.

"People are interested in the site but unless they can borrow money they cannot buy the site. The council therefore plans to wait until the market improves.

"We would encourage mixed use of the site. It is an important location on the inner ring road, so we would want to see a high quality development there.

"It's not about the height of the building but about its quality. Both the Rose Bowl and Broadcasting Place are examples of buildings which are fit for the 21st Century. In terms of how they look, or how high they are, that will depend on the market."

Coun Carter, leader of Leeds City Council, said the pool had cost the council a lot of money over the years in repairs and maintenance.

He said: "Throughout the course of its life it presented the council with significant repair and maintenance issues.

"The council own the site and the capital receipt from that site was always earmarked to help pay for the John Charles Centre for Sport, Middleton.

"Of course, with economic conditions being as they are, we have not sold the site and we won't until the market picks up and we get a good price for it."

Several years ago, an application by Bam to build mixed use flats with a bridge across the inner ring road was approved but Coun Carter said that was unlikely to happen now.

He added: "I can't see there being the same market for flats in the city centre that we saw a few years ago. I think the site will now have another use entirely but what that is remains to be seen.

"We need to get a purchaser with a scheme which fits our vision for the city centre. Long term, it's not going to be a car park. I would like to see something which incorporates a significant amount of open space."

But could the credit crunch have been a blessing in disguise?

Coun Carter added: "One of the things the economic slow-down has allowed us to do is to re-think ideas from the late 1990s and really think about how to complement one development with another."
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Timeline:

1930: The idea of an Olympic-sized pool was first imagined in Leeds and plans were drawn up but postponed because of the outbreak of war.

May 1960: The £1.25m pool was controversial even before it was built and split the council, half of whom wanted several smaller pools built instead.

September 1967: The 1,200-seater pool opened amid a flurry of publicity as one of just two Olympic size pools in the North. Gale force winds almost ripped the copper lined roof off.

September 1974: Leeds Council claimed more than £278,000 from bankrupt architect the late John Poulson, jailed for property fraud, for alleged design flaws in the Westgate pool – the council had to spend £82,000 replacing Poulson's futuristic copper roof after its wooden frame rotted.

July 1977: Ruling Tory councillors mooted the possibility of selling the pool after it lost more than £400,000 in one year.

November 1979: The pool was closed after brackets supporting the main roof were found to be unsafe.

September 1981: Members of the International Nudist Federation used the pool for their annual knees-up.

April 1993: Councillors seriously considered selling the pool so a new sports complex could be built somewhere else.

February 2004: For Sale signs go up but the council keeps the pool open for the time being. Opponents of the closure plans mount a campaign to try to reverse the council's decision.

July 2005: Work began on the new international pool, next to the South Leeds Stadium, off Dewsbury Road.

October 2007: The pool closed.

February 2008: The Accumulator art installation was created inside the empty building by two German artists.

December 2009: The last remnants of the pool were torn down.

There was a much-circulated rumour that Leeds International Pool was mistakenly built too small to conform to Olympic standards, so had to become merely an International Pool instead.

One story was that the pilings used in the pool's construction were too thick, thereby shrinking the pool's dimensions.

Another version ran that the original measurements were correct but its designers forgot to allow space for the touch pads at each end.

When these were subsequently added they made the pool smaller than the Olympic standard 50m long.

However, Leeds City Council is unable to shed much light on whether the story is true or simply an urban myth.
 

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I would definitely like to see a new and wider bridge over the Inner Ring Road. I'd welcome a green bridge if it was well lit- footbridges at night seem to attract crime.
 

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Some movement at least, especially if we get 33 storeys (although to be honest, I would say you could go taller on this site if desired). I do have some reservations about the layout and open space though.

Those spaces that are close to the curved IRR will surely be dead - mostly in the shade from the buildings and facing the very busy motorway. Would it not be better to bring the buildings, even if just a podium, up to the curve and instead maximise the central green area?
 

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I definitely prefer the off-white of Altus than the bright white of White Rose View.

I can't quite tell if the ends of those buildings are curved or angled - maybe a bit of both. Curves can be a bit scary for value engineering if you end up with lots of jagged edges and panels rather than a true smooth curve.

I'm reminded of the original visualisations of Bridgewater Place's curved frontage vs what we got with the panels.

1492034
 

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I don't think I have a massive issue with the building itself, but it's going to make quite a difference to Park Square and I'm not sure I welcome that.

Don't get me wrong, there are a number of historic places in Leeds where I don't really have an issue with tall buildings looming over them, especially if there's a precedent for it already with older buildings or if the buildings are particularly high quality, but in this case I think it's fair to say that Park Square is really the only complete Georgian Square we have in Leeds. It's certainly the only one that has been preserved well with sightlines from it largely protected.

We don't have many spaces as high quality and picturesque as Park Square so, surely we should preserve the one we do have?
 

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We can't sterilise an entire buffer zone around Park Square or other heritage assets from tall buildings right in the city centre - some of the most striking views in London come from that dichotomy of old meets new - views of the Bank of England with the tall buildings right behind it for example. Everyone's favourite flogged dead horse Lumiere would have been much more prominent in views from here but it seems to get a free pass.
Lumiere was designed with a taper on the top so that it wouldn't be visible from Park Square.
 
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