19th Apr, 2019

Creative plans could see town hall home to restaurant and former post office turned into hotel

Laura Kearns 24th Nov, 2018

LEAMINGTON Town Hall could become home to a restaurant and the former post office could become a hotel.

They are among newly revealed proposals to ‘regenerate and breathe life’ into Leamington’s Old Town.

The town hall, old post office, Pump Rooms and car parks are just some of the places which could be put to use in a bid to make Old Town a creative hub to compete with the likes of London and Birmingham, making it more attractive to younger people and workers.

Warwick District Council has worked with Complex Development Projects – the brains behind Coventry’s Fargo Village – to devise a plan using mainly council-owned properties.

The plans would see the area around Spencer Yard regenerated, incorporating the surrounding area from the town hall to Court Street car park.

The draft masterplan is set to go to public consultation if approved by the council’s executive on Thursday (November 29).

Spencer Yard would be the focus of the regeneration and the ‘centre’ of the town’s creative industries.

If plans are approved its new main entrance would be through the former Robbins Well pub on Victoria Terrace, and the nearby United Reform Church on Spencer Street would be used as an events space for weddings and indoor markets. Spencer Yard would become an open air cinema, events and overflow space.

A spokesman for the developers said: “Food, drink and events will create a vibe and a draw to this area, and could be a catalyst for igniting change in Old Town.

“Spencer Yard could be temporarily covered and heated for the winter, filled with deck chairs in the summer.”

Plans also include creating a restaurant in the nearby town hall, together with office space, members club and events or performance space, while the former post office on Victoria Terrace – which is not currently council-owned but is up for sale – could be transformed into a hotel.

The Pump Rooms could also undergo a revamp with a new bar and restaurant, the gallery expanded and modernised, the entrance foyer and café redesigned, while the library could be relocated to make way for a food market.

Change could also be on the way for local car parks.

Bath Place car park could be transformed into an ‘artist’s yard’ – which would see workspaces and shops built in former railway arches and markets held on the car park. Longer term a homes could also be built on the site.

And if plans are given the go-ahead Court Street car park would be turned into a multi-storey, while a warehouse on the site would become a ‘creative workspace’.

A council spokesman said: “A creative quarter needs to reflect and represent the creative community as a whole, including artists, makers, digital creatives, innovators, artisan food producers and more.

“Leamington must compete with London and Birmingham for new workers. The creative quarter should provide attractive workspace but also improve the cultural, culinary, recreation and night-time offers.”

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