Lunch bar plan for former Leeds Visitor Centre

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A corner of Leeds’ central railway station, which once housed the city’s main tourist office, is to be turned into a deluxe sandwich bar.

An application has been lodged to turn the unit, still known as the former Leeds Visitor Centre, into a Pret A Manger shop.

Papers submitted to Leeds City Council’s planning department request Listed Building consent to allow the chain’s occupation of the space.

The consent is required because the concourse of the railway station is Grade II listed. The permission would allow for new shopfronts, advertisements and a new fit-out of the unit.

A report to the council’s planning department lays out a variety of proposed works and promises that the changes “would have no adverse impact to this part of the Grade II listed building”.

It adds that many internal features were already lost through previous fit outs, but “the proposed works will not harm the original fabric of the building”.

The YEP reported last year that plans to move the visitor centre from the station to a “desk under the stairs” at the city’s art gallery had been criticised by workers. Staff said the prominent location helped the centre attract 2,000 people through its doors every day.

But council bosses decided to move the service to save money, as the upcoming redevelopment of the railway station was expected to send rents shooting up.

A source told the YEP at the time: “They want to increase footfall, but how many people go in the art gallery?”

However a spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said there had been “a review of the function and activities of the Leeds Visitor Centre”.

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