Leeds Kirkgate Market hotel scheme takes another step forward

    Plans for a new hotel development at Leeds Kirkgate Market have reached another important milestone.

    Leeds City Council confirmed initial details of the proposed development on the George Street side of the market complex earlier this year.

    Now, following a well-received community consultation process, a full planning application has been submitted for the scheme.

    If the application is approved, then work could start next year on a development that would add even more vibrancy and vitality to a part of the city centre transformed in recent times by widespread regeneration activity.

    The project is also seen as a way of driving further footfall into the market, which is already pulling in more than 400,000 visitors a month on the back of a multi-million pound investment programme.

    The site earmarked for the scheme is owned by the council and is currently occupied by a number of vacant low-rise shop units.

    The hotel would fill the top five floors of the new six-storey building and would have around 140 rooms as well as a bar and restaurant for guests.

    The ground floor, meanwhile, would be home to commercial units and a state-of-the-art council-run gym that would improve the local ‘fitness offer’ for people living in the city centre and nearby communities.

    The scheme would be developed by the council, with a pre-let lease in place with the proposed hotel operator.

    A high-quality approach to design is planned, with the aim of creating a suitably-attractive new neighbour for the Grade I listed market building.

    The hotel would also sit close to landmark locations such as the Victoria Gate retail destination, the refurbished Leeds Playhouse and Leeds City College’s Quarry Hill campus, all of which have helped power the regeneration of the eastern side of the city centre.

    An initial ‘pre-application’ report on the proposals was considered by the council’s city plans panel on June 22.

    That meeting was followed by a period of community consultation, with the majority of comments received from members of the public being very positive.

    Groups contacted during the consultation process included market traders, ward councillors and other stakeholders such as Leeds Civic Trust. Letters were also sent to local residential and commercial properties, while an in-person information event was held at the market.

    Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council's executive member for economy, culture and education, said:

    “We’re determined to do everything we can to deliver a bright and busy future for Leeds Kirkgate Market while also driving forward the regeneration of the surrounding area.

    “These hotel proposals are designed to help us achieve that twin aim, and we have been encouraged by the response we have had to them over the last few months.

    “The submission of the planning application marks another important step in a process that we hope will have a positive and transformative effect on George Street and the rest of the eastern side of our fantastic city centre.”

    Recent improvements and support delivered at the market by the council include:

    • A comprehensive programme of ongoing work to repair, conserve and enhance the 1875 ‘blockshops’, the oldest surviving structures on the market site;
    • The provision of more than £1.4m worth of rent concessions to help traders cope with the financial effects of the pandemic;
    • The creation of the popular Market Kitchen street food hall and event space during a £14m refurbishment scheme in 2016.

    The council is also currently considering the potential for bringing a ‘container-style’ food village to part of the market’s outdoor site, with a view to boosting footfall for traders based in that area.

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