The plans include access through to the market. Credit: LCC

Leeds reignites Kirkgate Market aparthotel project

The city council is looking to expand on a 2018 planning consent on George Street, replacing vacant shops with a six-storey, 143-unit aparthotel.

With Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher as architect, local powerhouse Town Centre Securities won planning permission in 2018 for a 126-unit aparthotel, with commercial ground floor uses and access points to the market at the 4-32 George Street plot.

The TCS consent lapsed in 2021. Leeds City Council will take on development itself, with a pre-let lease in place with a proposed operator.

LCC, which owns the site, is now looking to push on with a slightly expanded version of the scheme approved. The meeting of the local authority’s City Plans panel on 22 June will be informed of early stage work on proposals to redevelop the site in a six-storey scheme.

The site currently houses one- and two-storey shop buildings, all of them vacant, and given the location between the markets and the Victoria Gate retail destination, could fairly be described as under-developed.

Six commercial units would be housed at ground floor, the largest of them to be occupied by a council-run gym, with a bar/restaurant at first floor level.

No car parking is proposed for the site. Access to Kirkgate Market from George Street would be provided through a glazed block.

The main issues being presented to the panel are whether the uses proposed are appropriate, and whether the scale and massing suggested are appropriate for the location, and whether members are agreeable to a formal application being determined under delegated powers.

LCC said that the scheme is designed to complement the ongoing transformation of the area, including the refurbished Leeds Playhouse, one of Leeds City College’s main campuses and the rest of the Quarry Hill area.

Cllr Jonathan Pryor, LCC executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “The area around Leeds Kirkgate Market – and indeed the whole eastern side of the city centre – has undergone some massive and positive changes in recent years.

“The proposed hotel would add another vibrant piece to the jigsaw by contributing to the regeneration of George Street and acting as a visually-impressive linking point between Vicar Lane, the Eastgate roundabout and Quarry Hill.

“These plans also underline our commitment to the market and its future as a much-loved fixture on our retail scene that is now attracting more than 400,000 visitors a month.”

The market has been an area of focus, with the Market Kitchen food hall being created as part of a £14m programme in 2016; an ongoing £10m being committed to the full restoration of the 1875 ‘blockshops’ and £1.4m being allocated to Covid-linked rent assistance for traders.

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