Premier plan given green light

PLANNING permission to convert a disused Leamington shopping arcade into a chain hotel was granted this week.

At a meeting on Tuesday night, Warwick District’s Council’s planning committee voted unanimously in favour of plans to change the former Lee Longlands site at the Regency Arcade in the Parade into an 82-bedroom Premier Inn.

The plans also include a ground floor shop, a restaurant, a bar and a coffee shop.

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Councillors spoke mostly in favour of the plan but had to address the issue of flooding, which took place at the building in 1998.

There were also concerns over car parking but the committee decided St Peter’s multi-storey in Augusta Place would provide ample space for guests, particularly at night when it is usually empty.

Speaking after the meeting, committee chairman Cllr George Illingworth (Con, Kenilworth Abbey) said: “The general feeling was that it is an unused property in a crucial part of the town that would be brought back into use.”

The site has been boarded up for the past three years after its last tenant, the furniture store Lee Longlands, moved to Bedford Street.

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The building, which dates back to around 1835, has a grade II listed frontage.

It is hoped the development will attract more people to the lower end of the Parade.

The plans received no objections but neighbours, including St Peter’s church, have asked for measures to control noise.

In May John Bates, of applicant Whitbread, said the firm hoped to start work this year.