A joint venture to transform Brotherton House in Leeds into student accommodation has been launched.
Development and investment company J. Pullan & Sons will partner with serviced student housing provider the Study Inn Group to regenerate Brotherton House in the city.
The two companies will seek planning consent for the transformation of the heritage building into student accommodation, together with an accommodation block on the adjoining car park.
Brotherton House was designed before the war for Leeds philanthropist Lord Brotherton, but was not completed until 1956 when the rationing of building materials to repair war damage
finally ended. From 1962 the building served as the Police Headquarters for Leeds.
Mark Pullan of J. Pullan explained that Brotherton House was one of only a few high-quality buildings constructed in post-war Leeds and was worthy of retention.
He said: “We were impressed with Study Inn’s similar leasehold venture with Cambridgeshire County Council to convert and operate the council’s former headquarters building in central Cambridge.”
Officially opened by the Earl of Scarborough in 1957, Brotherton House was built the year before for £350,000 as the headquarters for Leeds chemicals and dyestuffs firm Brotherton and Co.
It was at the heart of a new business area at the Westgate end of The Headrow.
Old business premises were demolished to make way for it. It was named after the Brotherton family, who also gave their names to the Brotherton Library and Collection at Leeds University,
It was built by George Wimpey and Co, to a design by Leeds and London architect Victor Bain, on a site leased from the city council.
It was described as a building of the future, with the “latest external and internal structural techniques, automatic ventilation and ceiling heating”.
The building’s contemporary elevation was faced with brick, Portland stone, Cumberland slate and Italian quartzite.
Perhaps in keeping with its future use as a police station, the building had armoured glass entrance doors.
When Brotherton House became surplus to its owner’s requirements in 1962, it was put up for sale and was bought by Leeds Corporation the following year for around £325,000.
It was in 1965 – long before the merging of local police forces and the establishment of the current West Yorkshire force, that the old Leeds City Police took over part of the building. The force later established its administrative headquarters there.
Many police departments have been based at Brotherton House over the decades, including senior CID, Special Branch, Fraud Squad, Regional Crime Squad, Firearms Registry, Aliens Department, Force Prosecutions and the Policewomen’s Department.
At the heart of Brotherton House was the “information room”.
This acted as the control room for Leeds City Police and received all 999 calls and enquiries by telephone.
The control room had radio contact with every officer on duty who was out on patrol on the streets.
Kieran Leahy, Director of Study Inn Group, commented: “This is an excellent opportunity to bring a prominent building back to life and provide well-managed accommodation within
walking distance of all the facilities the residents will need to enhance their life experience in the city.
“We have found that developments such as this can actually help to relieve a variety of pressures in the local residential communities and we look forward to working with Leeds
City Council and other local stakeholders to ensure that this project is a long-term success."