Budget firm easyHotel confirms plan to open in Sheffield city centre

The former Primark building in High Street, Sheffield.

The former Primark building in High Street, Sheffield.

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Plans to turn the old Primark building in Sheffield city centre into a budget hotel have been revealed.

The easyJet sister firm easyHotel wants to open a branch in High Street, as part of a complex that would also include a gym and commercial units.

The former Primark building in High Street, Sheffield, viewed from King Street.

The former Primark building in High Street, Sheffield, viewed from King Street.

According to a planning application submitted this week, the eastern section of the former clothes shop would become a 131-bed hotel. A separate plan to knock down the western side, fronting Castle Square, and build a new residential block, is mentioned in the application but has not yet been submitted..

easyHotel already operates seven hotels in London plus others in Glasgow, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.

In a statement, the firm said: "easyHotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of 'super budget' branded hotels, confirms that it is in advanced discussions regarding the potential acquisition of a freehold building in Sheffield for the development of a new easyHotel for which a mixed use planning application for an easyHotel in Sheffield has been submitted by the developer.

"Further announcements will be made as appropriate."

The new Primark on The Moor in Sheffield.

The new Primark on The Moor in Sheffield.

Executive director of Sheffield Chamber Richard Wright welcomed the application. He said: "A big plank of the city centre masterplan involves moving retail out of the lower end of town around Castlegate and creating a business district around a new park on the old Sheffield Castle site.

"This certainly seems to be moving that forward. If we can do this and create the park it will be significant to the city."

The planning application, submitted by SFGE Properties Ltd, says easyHotel wants to use the first floor of the former C&A department store as a lobby, with bedrooms on the second, third and fourth floors. The main entrance would be off High Street, with another off King Street to the rear.

There would be no dedicated parking for the new hotel.

The gym would be in the basement with separate access from High Street, while the commercial units would be on the ground, first and second floor.

Sheffield Council wants to establish a new identify for Castlegate, bringing it to life at night and attracting new types of business. Retailers have been moving away from the area since the closure of Castle Market, with Primark the latest to leave for a new flagship shop in The Moor last month.

Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport Mazher Iqbal said: “We can’t comment on an individual planning application but Castlegate is an area of huge potential significance and we are already progressing several projects to complete our vision for a thriving knowledge corridor from Castlegate to the creative industries quarter.”

The need for regeneration in the area is recognised within the planning application, which says: "The immediate setting feels denuded of any real character or richness having somewhat of a degraded and faintly dated feel."

It points out 'some architectural gems of historic significance' along Haymarket and Waingate, but says: "Pedestrian footfall is limited and the townscape has a degraded and somewhat hostile feel."

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