Agenda item

PREAPP-21-00494 - 42 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 8HZ

To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding a pre-application presentation of proposed change of use and alterations to Headrow House, to form 232 co-living apartments.



The report of the Chief Planning Officer informed Members of a pre-application presentation for  the proposed change of use and alterations to Headrow House to form 232 co-living apartments; 42 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 8HZ.


Members attended the site prior to the meeting and site plans and photographs were displayed and referred to throughout the presentation.


It was reported that this was the first time a co-living proposal had been presented to Panel and that there was no specific policy in the Core Strategy for co-living.  The proposals were for a long term residential development with day to day living facilities.  Members were asked to consider whether it was acceptable to have smaller sized residential elements with larger communal spaces.  Co-living was a new concept to Leeds but could be found in other cities.


The applicant’s representatives addressed the Panel.  The following was highlighted:


·  The building was recently used as office space and was now empty.

·  It was felt a housing offer would be best suited for the building and the building layout lent itself to the proposed studio design and would work well for co-living.

·  There would be improvements to the exterior and interior of the building.

·  The development would encourage working people to live in the city centre.

·  The proposals were sustainable in use and design and made use of carbon reduction technology.

·  The proposal would give an appealing living environment and co-living was growing in popularity.

·  There were three key elements:

o  Community – the co-living model promoted social interaction and there would be a range of communal social spaces.

o  Flexibility – there would be straight forward tenancy agreements with a minimum of 3 months tenure.

o  Inclusivity – there would be single monthly payments that covered all costs.

·  It would be targeted at graduates, young professionals and those moving to the city for work.  There was clear demand for this kind of development.

·  The proposals would support graduate retention and promote city centre living and support the city centre economy.

·  The entrance to the building would be improved with new lighting and would provide an active frontage to Dortmund Square.

·  Design of the studios with kitchen and bathroom spaces.  There would be communal kitchens that were better equipped.

·  Communal spaces and facilities including laundry areas and workspaces.

·  Health and Wellbeing of residents was fundamental.

·  The biodiversity net gains would exceed national targets.

·  The proposals would bring key social, environmental and economic benefits.

·  Members were shown a walk through video presentation of the proposals.


In response to Members questions and comments, the following was discussed:


·  With regards to anti-social behaviour, the Panel was informed that would always be a management team on site with four members of staff and a concierge. A three strikes and your out policy would be in place.

·  The loss of space in the studio apartments was mitigated by the available communal spaces.

·  Concern regarding the amount of natural light for the studios.

·  Each floor of the development would have two communal kitchen spaces and other communal areas.

·  There were other co-living arrangements in Leeds based on a co-operative model.  There were concerns as to how this would be managed on such a level particularly where there was conflict.  This would be covered by the management operations and support would be available to individuals.

·  The proposals had been devised following commissioned work into housing demand.

·  The proposals were felt to be a positive re-use of the building but there were concerns regarding the size of the studios.

·  The size of the accommodation was too small for the more mature market and further work was needed on how to reconfigure the proposals.

·  Detailed management plans would be required.

·  There was a market for this kind of accommodation.

·  It would be useful to have policy relating to this kind of accommodation.

·  A C3 development would be preferable with communal workspaces and lounges.

·  It was suggested that the Panel visit an existing co-living development.

·  Whether the original main entrance to the building could be used.

·  The Lord Mayor had suggested the use of the name Siegen in regard to Leeds twinning with the town.

·  In response to questions outlined in the report felt more information was needed before they could support the principle of co-living and the residential amenity offered by the development.  With regard to the approach to affordable housing provision it was agreed that that a financial contribution would be the most appropriate solution.



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