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One of Leeds’ tallest buildings may be demolished to make way for a new student skyscraper

One of Leeds’ tallest buildings could be demolished to make way for a student accommodation block more than double its size.

Early plans have emerged for a 43-storey student accommodation block to be built on the site of the Arena Point tower.

They are set to go before Leeds City Council planning chiefs later this week.

The plans, known as a “pre-application” include blueprints for the building which is expected to house nearly 700 students.

It will add to current tall building developments in the area around the Merrion Centre, including the 23-storey Symons House, 27-storey White Rose View and the 37-storey Hume House.

The proposals, set to go before Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel, said the plans would also include amenity space.

The 19-storey Arena Point building, formerly known as Tower House, was built in 1965. Since then the building was re-clad in the 1980s and 2000s.

According to the council report into the proposals, local councillor Kayleigh Brooks raised concerns that the area would become ‘student-only’, which could put a strain on services.

The report added: ”At times when the universities are not sitting and students move out the night time economy suffers and areas can feel unsafe.

“Councillor Brooks comments that the area is sustainable for offices and employment and questions what would happen if demand ceases within the student accommodation market.”

According to the council’s own housing policy, the authority has a duty to “help extend the supply of student accommodation taking pressure off the need for private housing to be used”.

The report stated: “The provision of approximately 694 student bed spaces would help to reduce the need to use private housing for student accommodation.”

It claimed that prior to Covid-19, only 40 per cent of Arena Point was occupied, claiming its high vacancy rates could be due to the quality of its office space and its location.

The City Plans Panel will meet to discuss the plans on Thursday, October 22.

As this is a pre-application, no decision will be made, and more detailed versions of the plans are expected to be submitted in the coming months.

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