Planning Secured in Two Weeks, Preserving Funding for New Inclusive Innovation Hub

Leeds Inclusive Innovation Hub

Leonard Design have successfully gained planning permission in a period of two weeks for a new Inclusive Innovation Hub in Leeds. Securing permission in such a short period of time was essential to the client, Experience Community, to retain vital funding from Sport England before a looming deadline.

Experience Community

Experience Community is a not-for-profit organisation that helps disabled people, their families, friends and people from the wider community access natural heritage through a range of activities. Their vision is to provide a holistic, inclusive approach to leisure and tourism activities in natural heritage environments with a specific focus on people with a physical disability.

The organisation holds a strong belief that participating in social leisure activities can have a positive impact on wellbeing and be a form of rehabilitation. Encouraging disabled people to be as independent as possible to help them reach their full potential. The Leeds Inclusive Innovation Hub aims to aid Experience Community in their work by creating a space where people can understand and more importantly try-out new equipment.

Leeds Inclusive Innovation Hub

Located within the curtilage of the Leeds Urban Bike Park, the Leeds Inclusive Innovation Hub will be a pioneering project aiming to fulfil a need to provide accessible sporting activities to all ability levels. Welcoming the local community and enhancing the environment through carbon capture and nature-sensitive development. The new building will provide a flexible, accessible and adaptable community hub that will provide specialist equipment and facilities in order to become a much-needed regional centre of excellence, enhancing the local economy.

The Experience Community Innovation Hub will welcome people of all ability levels into the community and provide space for education, growth and development, instilling pride in the local community and acting as a social hub for its users. The phased design will allow the building to be expanded over time or with additional funds and the flexible-use nature of the facility will ensure it can be adapted for other uses in future if necessary.

The Design

The Leeds Inclusive Innovation Hub is designed to be phased to allow for staged increase of usable space, with each phase providing additional facilities. It is intended for the new development to provide accessible provision for wheelchair cycle fitting, store, workshop/sales, changing rooms, toilets, small food provision, management office and preparation area in phases 1 and 2. Phase 3 will provide an additional new build multi-purpose flexible space designed to be used for education, seminars, presentations and workshops.

The spaces are to be constructed from used shipping containers fitted within a portal frame. These frames will provide the structure for external timber cladding arranged in vertically oriented patterns. Low-cost detailing will be used to create interest and variety in the facade, casting shadows to create a rippling effect on the external walls.