Fire-ravaged Majestic site in Leeds could be dressed to impress

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A distinctive new look is on the cards for the Majestic building in Leeds city centre as it continues the long road back from last year’s devastating fire.

An application has been submitted to Leeds City Council for permission to ‘dress’ the Majestic’s entire facade with illuminated banners measuring a total of 98 metres wide by 12 metres high.

Designed to provide an attractive cover for scaffolding at the landmark building, they will feature advertising and a massive image of how the Majestic will look once post-fire repair work is complete.

Planning documents say that, if the scheme gets the go-ahead, the banners could remain in place for the whole of 2016.

One statement lodged with the council says: “The advertisement and covering will improve the visual amenity of the site adding colour and interest to the street scene, and provide information to visitors and passers-by, whilst the detailed proposals for re-use are advanced.”

The planning application has been submitted by a London-based firm called Infinity Outdoor Limited following an approach to the Majestic’s owner, Rushbond PLC.

Infinity Outdoor describes itself as a specialist in the “development and marketing of all types of giant format outdoor advertising throughout the UK and Europe”.

Addressing potential safety issues, one application document says: “The banners are static canvas; they do not incorporate flashing lights or moving parts.

“It will not require close study, nor will it confuse or obstruct views of road signs or traffic control signals for road-users.

“The method of illumination is aimed only on the banners themselves and will not cause any glare or distraction to passing motorists.”

Fire ripped through the Majestic on the evening of September 30 last year, soon after Rushbond had completed a renovation with a view to letting the former cinema and nightclub as a leisure destination.

At the height of the blaze, 75 firefighters were involved in the battle to save the Grade II-listed site.

A temporary roof was installed in April this year but no other work is currently taking place at the building, where extensive water damage to the interior has still to dry out.

At the time of the fire, Rushbond was in negotiations with the Leeds-based Burning Night Group bar and nightclub company over a possible tenancy.

Rushbond yesterday said it had no comment to make when asked how the Burning Night Group fitted into the “proposals for re-use” mentioned in Infinity Outdoor’s planning application.

Council officials said the application was “pending consideration”.

A 32-year-old man accused of starting the Majestic fire was found not guilty at Leeds Crown Court in April.

Gavin Shaw.

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