Central Leeds: Could £12m hotel return ‘sparkle’ to Greek Street?

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This is what a disused Leeds city centre car park and its nearby ‘binyard’ could soon look like, if ambitious plans for a £12m boutique hotel get the go-ahead.

The image shows initial artists’s impressions of the proposed new 10-storey hotel in Greek Street, which would replace the decommissioned 1970s mechanical stacker car park and the current Akbar’s restaurant building next door.

Developers want to demolish the 220-space car park, and replace it with a hotel – but it will have NO car park space of its own, in a bid to encourage guests to use public transport.

A meeting of the Leeds City Council city centre plans panel was told the new hotel – which would sit on land between Russell Street and Greek Street, and face onto Bond Court – could bring back some much needed “sparkle” to a part of the city which has massive potential footfall because it is a popular cut-through, but has been somewhat of a “missed opportunity”.

Tony Plowman, from architects Kilmartin, Plowman and Partners Ltd, told the panel the hotel could be a “catalyst” for the regeneration of Bond Court and Greek Street.

“Greek Street has lost its sparkle over the last few years,” he said. “Bond Court is a missed opportunity, which probably has the biggest footfall in the city in that gap. We want open up the gap and the route through Greek Street and Bond Court.”

Mr Plowman said the new building – which is yet to reach planning application stage –would be a “four-star plus, boutique style quality hotel”.

He said negotiations with a possible operator were in an advanced stage, but would not reveal the name.

However he said it would be a “worldwide known boutique hotel operator who sees this as an opportunity to develop their brand in Leeds”.

Councillors were broadly supportive of the scheme. However questions were raised about the lack of car parking at the hotel itself, especially when spaces in the city centre are already at a premium.

Others suggested that as the developer is foregoing car parking spaces in favour of public transport usage, they should be encouraged to make a contribution towards the city’s wider public transport ambitions like NGT.

Coun Peter Gruen said: “I like this scheme. It is fresh and has a modern feel about it, and fits well with the surroundings . It will enhance Bond Court and that area.” Coun Thomas Leadley added: “I can see this area lifting again”. And Coun David Blackburn said: “It’s a great improvement to walking down a smelly alley where the bins are”.

Mike Eaton.

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