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Green light for Leeds Kirkgate Market hotel scheme

4 Dec 2023 Brand, Estate, Property

Leeds Kirkgate Hotel Development Image 2

The regeneration of the area around Leeds Kirkgate Market is set to take another impressive stride forward after plans for a new hotel and gym were given the green light.

Leeds City Council submitted a planning application in August for the scheme on the George Street side of the Grade I listed market building.

And yesterday (Thursday, November 30) the application won the support of the council’s city plans panel.

The decision means that construction work should start next year on the scheme, with the council having already agreed a pre-let lease with hotel operator Premier Inn.

The development will also include a council-run public gym, delivering improved access to top-class health and fitness facilities for people living and working in the city centre.

The transformation of the George Street site will, it is hoped, provide another notable success story for an area that has undergone significant and positive changes in recent years and is today home to landmarks such as the Victoria Gate retail destination, the refurbished Leeds Playhouse and Leeds City College’s Quarry Hill campus.

The scheme has also been designed to drive additional footfall to the market, where business has already been boosted by a multi-million pound investment programme.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said:

“The plans panel’s support for the George Street scheme represents another important milestone in the regeneration of the area around Leeds Kirkgate Market and beyond.

“Leeds city centre is already a vibrant, attractive place to visit, but we want to make it even better – and the new hotel will help us achieve that aim, providing a stylish linking point between Vicar Lane, the Eastgate roundabout and Quarry Hill.

“The scheme also underlines our commitment to ensuring the market retains its position as one of the jewels in the city’s retail crown.”

Paul Smith, acquisitions manager for Premier Inn owner Whitbread, said:

“We are extremely proud to have been named as the operator of the George Street hotel.

“The location ticks so many boxes for Premier Inn customers and I know our guests will give a lot back to the area once we are open.

“Following yesterday’s meeting, we will continue to work closely with the council’s team to construct the new hotel and deliver another superb location for our guests in the city centre.”

The site earmarked for the six-storey George Street development is owned by the council and is currently occupied by a number of vacant low-rise shop units.

The hotel will fill the top five floors of the new building, with 143 rooms as well as a bar and restaurant for guests.

The ground floor, meanwhile, will feature a range of commercial units and a council-run gym.

The hotel will create approximately 50 new full and part-time jobs locally once operational, with around 80 jobs being supported during construction.

Other recent improvements and support delivered at the market by the council include:

  • A comprehensive programme of ongoing work to repair, conserve and enhance the 1875 ‘blockshops’, the oldest surviving structures on the site;
  • The provision of more than £1.4m worth of rent concessions to help traders cope with the financial effects of the pandemic;
  • The creation of the popular Market Kitchen street food hall and event space during a £14m refurbishment scheme in 2016.

The council is also currently considering the potential for bringing a ‘container-style’ food village to part of the market’s outdoor site, with a view to boosting footfall for traders based in that area.

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