January 2004

Many of you will be aware of Leeds City Council’s plans to build a new 50 metre swimming and diving facility to replace the Leeds International Pool. The new facility is to be built at South Leeds Stadium which is located off Dewsbury Road, just over 2 miles from the current International Pool site. When the new swimming and diving centre is opened, the Leeds International Pool (LIP) will close and the site used for re-development. All of the money raised from the sale of the LIP site-will be used to fund the new facility at South Leeds Stadium.

This is the first of a number of newsletters which will keep you up to date with all of the issues connected with both the development of the new facility and the eventual closure of the LIP.

Progress on the Swimming and Diving Centre, South Leeds Stadium

Plans to replace the LIP with a state-of-the-art facility have been discussed since the 1970s when the option to develop an ice rink and new 50 metre swimming pool on the site of the Quarry Hill flats was on the front pages of the local papers. Whilst various schemes have been developed, the LIP has continued to play an important role in swimming provision in Leeds. Many International swimmers and divers, including Adrian Moorhouse, Olympic Gold Medal winner at Seoul in 1988, have trained at the LIP. City centre office workers and local residents have also been able to access the swimming and fitness facilities at the LIP as part of their Leisure time activities.

However, the schemes to replace the LIP with a new pool within the city centre failed to attract the necessary support from Sport England and the Sports Lottery Fund. As a result, plans were developed for a new Swimming and Diving Centre at South Leeds Stadium.

In September 2003 these plans received final approval from the Sports Lottery Fund and an award of £5 million towards the new centre was confirmed. The final design is now being completed and work is due to start on site in August this year with completion and opening of the facility in the summer of 2006.

A new road development improving links between South Leeds Stadium and Belle Isle and the city centre is also due to be completed in 2006. A regular bus service will operate along the new road and by linking into the Supertram route, will provide a public transport link from the Stadium to the city centre.

What does this mean for the International Pool?

Although the marketing of the site and eventual sale of the LIP site will now commence, the City Council is committed to keeping the LIP open until the Swimming and Diving Centre at South Leeds Stadium opens in the summer of 2006. The marketing of the LIP site will begin shortly with the “For Sale” boards going up on key external locations. The Council will then begin a long process of evaluating the bids that are made for the site before announcing the successful bidder later this year.

We recognise that this activity may create uncertainty for our customers and want to take this opportunity to re-assure you of the Councils commitment to keeping the building running as normal until the new Swimming and Diving Centre opens in 2006.

What will happen to users of the LIP when it eventually closes?

The new Swimming and Diving Centre will provide a superb facility for the people of Leeds. We are sure that many of the current LIP users will want to use it when it opens in 2006.

We also recognise that for some users who work in the city or who are local residents, the location of the LIP makes it their “local” pool. Leeds City Council is continuing to explore ways in which to provide for ‘pay and play’ swimming and fitness opportunities in the city centre when the LIP closes and we are exploring options with both Universities and other providers to meet this demand. We will keep you informed of progress on this issue.

If you have any questions about the new 50m Swimming and Diving Centre at South Leeds Stadium or the implications of the development on current users of the LIP then please write to:

LIP News
Business and Service Development
Leeds International Pool

Or email lsp.international.pool@leeds.qov.uk