Leeds Majestyk: Calls to transform 'blot on landscape'

Camapigners today called for action to restore one of the best-known buildings in Leeds to its former glory.

Dr Kevin Grady, director of the Leeds Civic Trust heritage watchdog, says the old Majestyk nightclub has become a blot on the landscape of City Square.

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He spoke out after the reasons were revealed for a judge's rejection of a plan to transform the building into a Las Vegas-style cabaret and casino complex.

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Originally opened as a 2,400-seater cinema in the 1920s, the site has been disused since its reinvention as a club ended in closure in 2006.

Dr Grady said: "City Square should be a showpiece entrance to the city.

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"What we don't want is to have people coming out of the railway station and immediately walking past an empty building.

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"It would be good if it could be retained as an entertainment venue of some kind."

The Grade II listed grey stone building's current owner is Milton Keynes-based leisure giant Luminar.

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Its 14m plan to bring a touch of Vegas glamour to Leeds hit trouble in 2008 when magistrates rejected a gaming licence application for the site.

Now Judge Jennifer Kershaw has explained why a subsequent appeal against that decision was turned down.

In a 35-page judgment, she said the proposed casino would not add anything to the gaming facilities already available in Leeds.

The judgment has been released two months after the failure of the appeal was confirmed.

Luminar said at the time that it was "very disappointed" by the outcome and was reviewing its options.

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Existing casinos in Leeds include the Alea at Clarence Dock and the Grosvenor on Merrion Way.

A larger 'new generation' gaming complex is also in the pipeline, although a decision has yet to be taken on its operator or location.

Three times bigger than the current norm for a UK casino, it would boast up to 150 slot machines offering maximum jackpots of 4,000.

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