Controversial Plan For New London Hotel On Leicester Square Gets Go Ahead
Leicester Square, a central but not particularly charming London square of mostly unglamorous cheap restaurants and perpetual tourist throngs, has been the subject of a makeover the last few years. The W hotel landed at its northwest corner in 2011, and the public park was redeveloped in an effort to match the brief moments of glamour during red carpet premieres at one of its cinemas.
While it probably hasn’t quite achieved that goal yet, there is more development work in the pipeline: the local council (government) has approved a plan to redevelop the Odeon West End Cinema, at the southern end of the square, into a mixed-use complex with hotel, two-screen cinema, spa, restaurants, bars, and banqueting space. But not everyone is happy with that idea.
Opponents argue the demolition of the cinema, which sports an Art Deco façade, would destroy part of the square’s heritage. The height of the new complex would also harm the environment of the listed National Gallery and Trafalgar Square, both just to the south/south east of the proposed complex.
The hotel would have 360 guestrooms and be managed by Radisson Blu Edwardian, already represented in the area by two hotels. Approval may have brought things a step forward, but given the scale of the initiative we’re years away from this new hotel opening – and that’s assuming those opposed won’t find a way to delay or alter the plans altogether.
[Renderings: Woods Bagot]