Parliament Street in Harrogate could receive a facelift later this year as plans are set in motion to turn part of it into a family-friendly foodie heaven, the Advertiser can reveal.
As reported last week, the Multiyork sofa store is to move to the old Habitat site to make way for a branch of Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian restaurant chain.
Now plans have been revealed by landlord Lateral Property Group to convert the rest of that block – between the Ginnel and Wetherspoons – into three more restaurants.
Lateral, which is based in Harrogate, estimates that the new tenants will provide between 150 and 200 new jobs, mostly for younger people.
Speaking exclusively to the Advertiser, Lateral’s managing director, Philip Lunn, said: “This is great news for Harrogate. It will anchor this end of town and will face off the threat from Leeds and York.
“Harrogate needs to strengthen its retail and leisure tourism offer.”
The block’s current tenants have either moved out or are about to. Saks has relocated to Cheltenham Crescent, Kit & Kaboodal has retreated to its Boroughbridge and Wetherby branches, and Albert’s closed last Monday.
The remaining businesses, Urban Chill and Valtiara, will have to vacate their premises over the next four months.
Mr Lunn said the intention was to create a family-friendly destination, balancing out John Street’s more adult, drink-orientated enviroment.
According to the redevelopment plans, which go before the Borough Council’s planning committee next week, the block will lose its overhanging concrete canopies and will be re-clad in limestone and brown zinc. The current four main units will be converted to three larger ones.
Describing Harrogate House, the tower block at the top of the block, as “horrible”, Mr Lunn said: “It’s a very ugly 1960s building that doesn’t fit into the streetscape. We can’t do anything about the upper [residential] levels, but we can improve the lower level.”
He said it would be contemporary, but wouldn’t jar with its surroundings.
Mr Lunn’s Lateral Property Group came to local attention in 2011 when he unveiled plans to re-flow Harrogate’s through-traffic via Montpellier Hill and the Pump Room to enable the pedestrianisation of Parliament Street and the creation of a series of open spaces with water-features.
In the absence of local authority support for those plans, he told the Advertiser: “We came to the realisation there was no opportunity to deliver any substantive change and thus for the time being we have parked up our wider masterplan proposals.”
But he added: “The council and members are concerned about how change will be accepted by the population of Harrogate, but I think there are plenty of people who are fine with positive change.”
The next stage of the most recent proposals will involve the redevelopment of the block further up, which Lewis & Cooper has just vacated and which also houses Pizza Hut.
Mr Lunn intends to turn that over to mixed retail and residential use, with some big-name retail tenants, and hopes to be on site by the end of 2013 or early 2014.