Premier Inn named as proposed operator for Leeds Kirkgate Market hotel scheme
Plans for a new hotel development at Leeds Kirkgate Market will next week reach their latest significant milestone.
Leeds City Council submitted a planning application in August for the scheme on the George Street side of the Grade I listed market building.
Now it has been confirmed that the application will be considered by the council’s city plans panel at a meeting taking place next Thursday, November 30.
If the application is approved, then it is hoped work will start next year on a scheme that has been designed to complement other hugely-positive regeneration initiatives in the area around the market and beyond.
Ahead of next week’s meeting, the council can also confirm Premier Inn as the proposed operator of the hotel. A pre-let lease has been agreed with Premier Inn, which is part of the Whitbread Group.
Premier Inn’s customer base is typically split 50/50 between business and leisure guests, with year-round occupancy levels above 80 per cent across its hotel network.
The George Street hotel would create approximately 50 new full and part-time jobs locally once operational, with around 80 jobs being supported during construction.
The site earmarked for the scheme is owned by the council and is currently occupied by a number of vacant low-rise shop units.
The hotel would fill the top five floors of the new six-storey building and would have 143 rooms as well as a bar and restaurant for guests.
The ground floor, meanwhile, would be home to commercial units and a state-of-the-art council-run gym that would improve the local fitness offer for people living in the city centre and nearby communities.
The scheme would be developed by the council with the intention of providing a stylish addition to a part of the city centre that boasts landmarks such as the Victoria Gate retail destination, Leeds Playhouse and Leeds City College’s Quarry Hill campus.
It is also hoped that the hotel would help drive extra footfall to the market, already thriving on the back of a multi-million pound investment programme.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said:
“We’re proud of the positive difference we have made at Leeds Kirkgate Market, where monthly visitor numbers hit the half-a-million mark earlier this year.
“We are determined to keep building on that success, with the plans for the George Street hotel underlining the scale of our ambitions for both the market and the continued regeneration of the surrounding area.
“The new development would provide a much-improved connection between the market and Victoria Gate, while also acting as an attractive linking point in the wider flow of the city centre from Vicar Lane towards the Eastgate roundabout and Quarry Hill.
“We are pleased to be working on this project with Premier Inn, which has a commitment to delivering quality and good value that mirrors our own approach as a council.”
Paul Smith, property acquisitions manager for Whitbread, said:
“From independent research we know that Premier Inn customers spend £140 per night per bedroom outside of our hotels when they stay in city centre locations like George Street in Leeds.
“This money excludes what our guests spend on their accommodation, with food and drink, entertainment and non-food shopping being the largest categories of spending.
“Importantly, most of this money is spent in the local area around our hotels as our guests go out and about to get a taste for where they are staying.
“Multiplying this figure across a high-occupancy 143-bedroom Premier Inn on George Street would generate a multi-million pound boost to the local economy, helping to support the many established and independent businesses in the market and elsewhere across Leeds city centre.”
An initial ‘pre-application’ report on the scheme was considered by the council’s city plans panel in June.
That meeting was followed by a period of community consultation, with the majority of comments received from members of the public being positive.
Groups contacted during the consultation process also included market traders, ward councillors and other stakeholders such as Leeds Civic Trust.