Apartments plan in Leeds could ‘rescue’ part of Grade II-listed building from ‘decay’

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Plans to create a cluster of short-stay apartments could “rescue” an ailing part of a listed building from “decay”, the Leeds Civic Trust has said.

The city council has been asked to grant planning permission for 10 hotel apartments above the Mommy Thai restaurant and Sqew bar on Duncan Street, close to Leeds’ main train station.

Photos released by the local authority show the Grade II-listed building’s upper floors to be in a dreadful state inside, with water damage and graffiti lining the cracked and crumbling walls.

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Councillors will decide whether or not to approve the application at a meeting this Thursday, with planning officers having given their blessing to the scheme.

The plans were said to have the potential to 'rescue' the building.The plans were said to have the potential to 'rescue' the building.
The plans were said to have the potential to 'rescue' the building.

A report published ahead of the meeting said the building’s upstairs quarters have been vacant for many years, despite planning permission for 15 bedsits being granted in 2006. Their condition is in stark contrast to the downstairs units, which are in good condition and open for business.

Leeds Civic Trust has given the new proposals “strong support” in principle, saying: “It would be good to see this architecturally imposing and publicly visible structure given a facelift and to know that the interior has been rescued from the decay to which it has been subjected over recent years.”

The trust did express concern about the proposed size of two of the apartments in particular, which are likely to be very small. In its report, however, the council said that its usual minimum space standards did not apply, as the apartments are not going to be residential.

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The premises was once occupied by school uniform traders Rawcliffes, after being built around the turn of the 20th century. Business at the restaurant and the bar, which occupy the building’s ground floor now, would be unaffected by the plans.

A new staircase linking the ground floor to the apartments would also be constructed, if the scheme goes ahead. A condition banning visitors from staying for more than three months at a time in the apartments is also likely to be imposed, if approval is given.