Plans for a multi-million pound hotel complex, which would give a facelift to historic Leeds city centre buildings, have been given the green light by planning chiefs.
Proposals to partly demolish the Leonardo and Thoresby buildings and 2 Great George Street, near the city’s Millennium Square, were put before the Leeds City Council city plans panel. In their place, two new hotels, boasting more than
300 beds, and an office block would be built, with a glass roof extension on top of the listed Great George Street building.
But many objected to the plans, including Historic England, which claimed the alterations would “fail to preserve the character” of the area, while one councillor called part of the plans a “carbuncle”.
Coun Neil Walshaw (Lab) supported the plans, claiming: “It’s a really strong set of proposals now – it shows the importance of pre-applications.”
In a letter to the council, Historic England objected to all three parts of the development, and claimed the proposed new building would “fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area by virtue of its form, bulk, height, massing and design.”
It added: “It would visually interrupt and cut across the currently characterful and aesthetically pleasing connection between the listed buildings as well as obscuring the visibility of the principal elevations of both listed buildings from the surroundings streets.”
Other panel members also had problems with the roof extension of the Great George Street building.
Coun Dan Cohen added: “For me it is not a good development.
“I worry about developments we have had that looked great for a few years, but very quickly the fad of the design moved on and people celebrated when it was gone. I worry it will age badly.” Coun Paul Wadsworth (Con) labelled the roof extension a “carbuncle”, while Coun Elizabeth Nash (Lab) added: “I am not altogether happy with the new building.”
The plans were passed with a vote of nine to two. As Historic England submitted a statutory objection, the plans will be forwarded to the Secretary of State for Communities James Brokenshire.