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Wed 28th Jun 2017 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

US-based International House of Pancakes on hunt for franchisees as it looks to enter UK market: US-based fast-casual restaurant brand International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is on the hunt for franchisees as it looks to enter the UK market. Senior executives will be in London next month to discuss regional, area, city and multi-unit franchise development opportunities in the UK and Republic of Ireland. The development discovery meetings will be held on Tuesday, 25 July and Wednesday, 26 July at the London Marriott County Hall Hotel in Westminster. IHOP was founded in 1958 and serves pancakes and a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items. As of 2015, it had 1,683 restaurants with system-wide sales of $3.2bn. Its sites, which come in six different formats, span 50 US states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Bahrain, Canada, Dubai, Guatemala, Kuwait, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, The Philippines and the US Virgin Islands. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by California-based IHOP and its affiliates. IHOP is a wholly owned subsidiary of DineEquity, which also owns Applebee’s. DineEquity international president Daniel del Olmo said: “As one of the world’s largest full-service restaurant companies and a 99% franchise-owned system, we have an understanding of what it takes to succeed in a competitive market place – anywhere in the world – and we take our obligation to our franchisees and our iconic brands seriously. The iconic nature of the IHOP brand is built on proven success, driven by a menu of craveable, identifiable dishes, superior service and a one-of-a-kind dining experience. As the leading family dining brand in the US, we are very excited to bring IHOP to the world through partnerships.” For further information and to schedule a meeting, email World Franchise Associates chief executive Paul Cairnie at

Industry News: 

Propel Multi-Club summer conference open for bookings, two free places for operators: The Propel Multi-Club summer conference and party is now open for bookings. The event, which takes place on Thursday, 6 July at the Oxford Belfry, which is just off the M40, will also involve the Propel summer party in the evening. Operators can claim two free places by emailing Jo Charity on The speaker line-up for the morning session is NPD Group UK foodservice director Cyril Lavenant, Morar Consulting chief executive Roger Perowne, David Bruce, co-founder of Firkin Pubs, The Capital Pub Company and The City Pub companies and currently chairman of The West Berkshire Brewery, and Ali Khan and Samrien Hussain, who operate escape rooms business Tick Tock Unlocked. Speaking after lunch are Marston’s Revere Pub Company managing director Colin Sadler, and The Breakfast Club co-founder Jonathan Arana-Morton. The final session features Tahola commercial director Simon Blackbourne, Mowgli owner Nisha Katona and Rupert Clevely, managing director of Ei Group’s managed expert joint venture Hippo Inns.

Vapiano shares open above issue price in Frankfurt debut: Shares in Vapiano started trading at €23.95 in their Frankfurt debut, about 4% above their issue price. Bonn-based Vapiano placed almost eight million shares at €23 apiece in its initial public offering (IPO), raising about €184m (£162m) and giving it a market value of about €553m. Barclays, Berenberg and Jefferies are acting as joint global co-ordinators for the IPO, together with Unicredit. The aim of the IPO is to help fund the expansion of Vapiano’s Italian-themed restaurants, reports Reuters. Vapiano has 185 sites in more than 30 countries and plans to increase this to 330 by the end of 2020. It also wants to develop its takeaway food and home delivery businesses. Vapiano had sales of €460.4m in 2016 and generated Ebitda of €28.6m. The company opened its first restaurant in Hamburg in 2002. In March, Vapiano signed to open an 11,000 square foot site at the former George Hotel in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street.

New ALMR analysis highlights ‘broken’ business rates system: The “unfair” business rates regime has again been highlighted in new analysis by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR). A study of the rateable values (RVs) of the six pubs in the final of this year’s Licensee of the Year competition, run by the British Institute of Innkeeping, has revealed that, collectively, the pubs’ RV has risen 57%. The Castle at Edgehill in Oxfordshire, run by the winning licensee Mark Higgs, is enduring a triple-digit rise (258%) following this year’s revaluation process and by 2020/21 is scheduled to pay more than double its current business rates bill. Other notable increases include the Kings Head in Thursley, Surrey, which has experienced a 133% increase, and Merchants 1668 in Lancaster, which has risen by 86%. Overall under the current regime, by 2020/21 the six pubs will be paying 64% more in business rates than before the revaluation. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Our analysis once again brings into sharp focus the current unfair and broken business rates system. It is a regime that is rigged against hospitality businesses, penalises success, and stifles investment and growth as higher turnover invariably leads to higher rates. These six outstanding licensees run exceptional pub businesses that contribute greatly to the local community and have been recognised as some of the best the country has to offer. How can it be right their success is penalised by significant hikes in their rates bills that threaten to hamper future growth and job creation? The ALMR will be keeping up the pressure for wholesale reform and pressing ministers for assurances on a commitment to change in the Budget later this year.” Emily Francis, head of business rates at rating experts BNP Paribas Real Estate, added: “The way licensed leisure premises are assessed can exacerbate the issue, as often there is a clear misunderstanding of how a property’s value – based on the notional concept of ‘fair maintainable trade’ – should be calculated. We believe a better understanding of the industry, and of how operators achieve their level of turnover, is required by the government and its surveyors.”

BHA commends May for including tourism VAT in DUP deal: The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has commended Theresa May for including tourism VAT in considerations for a “confidence and supply” deal with the DUP. The BHA applauded the government for recognising the need to “examine how Northern Ireland’s businesses are impacted by the UK’s high rates of tourism VAT”. A detailed report will be commissioned and published as part of the agreement. BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “Reducing tourism VAT across the UK is a key pillar of the BHA’s recommendations to government to support the UK’s fourth-largest industry and we look forward to working with the Treasury and leading the industry’s representations to this detailed report. The UK’s tourism VAT rate at 20% is double the European average. Northern Ireland’s hospitality and tourism businesses risk losing customers to the Republic of Ireland, where tourism VAT is 9%. We have been calling for a reduction in the UK rate of tourism VAT to 5% to create 121,000 jobs, increase UK export earnings from tourism, and bring in £4.6bn to the Treasury over ten years.”

Just Eat opens user-testing labs that resemble home from home: Online food ordering firm Just Eat has opened three state-of-the-art user-testing labs at its London base that resemble a living room, kitchen and restaurant respectively to make participants feel at home. Just Eat global brand director Susan O’Brien announced on LinkedIn: “We’re halfway through our London refurb and have opened three new state-of-the-art user-testing labs. We’ve got a living room, a kitchen and a restaurant. They’ll help our user-testing participants feel far more at home – far better than an impersonal conference room and ideal for getting great insights into how people use Just Eat. We’ve got the hardware to record everything that happens in 4k split-screen, tri-screen or even quad-screen glory too so we can capture participants’ expressions at the same time as we see what they’re doing on screen.” Just Eat principal UX engineer Craig Pugsley said earlier this year: “We are one big experiment in product research in Just Eat right now. It’s a huge sector of different technologies but we also look at different solutions. We’re like a big testbed. Our remit for this year is the connected home. We want to understand how people eat food in their home.”

AB InBev-backed planning startup embarks on £250,000 crowdfunding campaign: Planning startup PlanSnap, which is backed by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is embarking on a £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to develop the product. The company, founded by Louise Doherty, who has worked for YO! Sushi and Britain’s Beer Alliance, is offering a 7.69% equity stake in return for the investment. So far it has raised £195,390 from 250 investors with seven days remaining. PlanSnap is a social planning app that gets everyone to agree on the details of a plan in a few taps – even if users’ friends don’t have the app. The pitch states: “For brands grappling with the consumer shift towards ‘experiences, not things’, PlanSnap allows them to be a taste-maker by suggesting the best plans, and a utility to make their customers’ plans actually happen. PlanSnap works with brands, retailers and media partners to sell ‘planning as a service’ and sponsorship, with a contract of £46,500 from one brand partner in year one. In the third quarter of this year, PlanSnap plans to move from beta to full launch, with ‘planning as a service’ functionality piloted in the fourth quarter and launched in the first quarter of 2018. The funds will be used to hire a data scientist and a designer to make PlanSnap smarter and faster, and for marketing and business development. PlanSnap has raised £130,000 from Fubra, Techstars and ZX Ventures (AB InBev’s venture arm). Fubra was equity investment, and Techstars and ZX Ventures are convertible loan notes that will convert to equity in this round. In the 12 months to 31 March 2017, PlanSnap turned over £28,000 with Ebitda of minus £103,900.” PlanSnap is hosting an investment Q&A with drinks and pizza followed by a table tennis tournament on Wednesday (28 June) at Bounce in Old Street, east London.

Company News:

Brunning & Price acquires former Jamie’s Italian site in Cheltenham: Brunning & Price, the 58-strong pub division of The Restaurant Group, has acquired the former Jamie’s Italian site in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The company has applied to Cheltenham Borough Council to transform the old County Court building in Regent Street. The grade II-listed property has been empty since Jamie’s Italian closed earlier this year – one of six sites shut by the company. In its application, Brunning & Price said preserving the character of the building was an important part of the plan. The deli counter installed by Jamie’s Italian would be ripped out, while plans include the restoration of several historic fireplaces. It also proposes moving the kitchen to the basement allowing the ground and first floors to be used by guests. The ground floor would include a new fireplace and snug area while upstairs, as well as the loss of the deli counter, parquet flooring would be restored and new seating areas created, reports Gloucestershire Live. The Restaurant Group bought Brunning & Price for £32m in 2007. Its forthcoming sites include the Dinorben Arms in Bodfari, Wales, and the Haycutter in Oxted, Surrey.

Neil Rankin to open second Temper site next month in City of London with focus on curry and gin: Neil Rankin is to open a second site for his Imbiba-backed concept Temper, this time in the City of London. Temper City will open at Angel Court in Throgmorton Street on Monday, 24 July focusing on curry and gin rather than the whole animal barbecue concept featured at the debut Temper, which launched in Soho in November. Curries will also be cooked on open flames featuring styles from around the world, alongside 20 gins with a tonic and bespoke cocktail on hand for each. Dishes will include meatball masala, mutton rolls, laksa lamb belly, and a fiery lamb scotch bonnet vindaloo. There will also be Japanese-inspired dashi chip shop chicken, and crisp egg with katsu. Temper City will also offer a thali-style set menu at lunchtimes, enabling diners to sample a bit of everything, as well as a breakfast service. Rankin told Hot Dinners: “Curry is my first food love and still my favourite. We’ll also be doing lots of poultry so there will be whole and half ducks and chickens. Expect lots more fish and a much bigger focus on vegetarian dishes.” Regarding further roll-out of the Temper concept, he added: “I have four ideas in mind but we’ll decide when we pick a site. There will be little cookie cutting here – I like to keep things fresh and my chefs inspired.”

Coffee chain boss to launch burger concept: A multi-site coffee shop entrepreneur is launching new burger concept Vospers at Woolston Waterside, part of the Centenary Quay development in Southampton. Vospers has agreed a new 20-year lease for the 2,248 square foot (209 square metre) property, which is one of 12 leisure units being developed at Woolston Waterside. The concept has been developed by Spencer Bowman, founder and managing director of Mettricks Hospitality, which opened its fifth Mettricks Coffee House at the Southampton scheme last month. Vospers will feature high-end burgers and a drinks menu of craft beer, ales and homemade cocktails, with interiors inspired by the 1920s. Located three miles from Southampton city centre on the banks of the River Itchen, Centenary Quay will feature 1,620 residential dwellings and 78,000 square feet of retail and leisure space, as well as a day nursery and library. Piers Cook, of the licensed leisure team at Savills, which secured the deal with Vospers, said: “We are pleased to have secured this deal with Vospers, which will be the first restaurant to open alongside Mettricks at Woolston Waterside. We are in talks with a number of operators about the remaining leisure units.” Bowman added: “I am thrilled we are bringing the first premium burger restaurant and crafted cocktail bar to the eastern side of the city.” Savills acted jointly with Hughes Ellard. Vospers was unrepresented.

Former Savoy head bartender launches French neighbourhood bar Coupette in Bethnal Green: Chris Moore, former head bartender at the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar, has launched his own venture – French neighbourhood bar Coupette – in Bethnal Green, east London. Moore has joined forces with two other leading London bartenders – Franck Dedieu, formerly of high-end rum and cocktail bar Redwood, and Dan Schofield, previously at award-winning 69 Colebrooke Row – to open the bar, which has a distinctly French accent. Coupette has taken over the former Albion pub in Bethnal Green Road and offers artisanal regional French drinks such as Calvados with cold-pressed apple juice, French cider, truffled white negroni made with seasonal truffles, and champagne pina colada. The cocktail menu draws inspiration from French culture, while there is also a fully French wine list alongside imported charcuterie, terrines, cheese, coffee, fresh pastries and weekend brunch.

UK’s longest community-owned pub celebrates 20th anniversary: The UK’s longest-running pub under community ownership has celebrated its 20th anniversary. The Beauchamp Arms in Dymock, Gloucestershire, was taken over by its local community in 1997 when the last remaining pub in the village was put up for sale and threatened with closure. The parish council took the then unusual step of applying for a loan from the Public Works Loan Board to purchase and renovate the pub for about £160,000, with rental paid by tenants enough to cover the monthly repayments. Following approval by then secretary of state for the environment John Prescott, the parish council took ownership of The Beauchamp Arms in May 1997, working with a management company running the pub. In May, parish council chairman Terry Bell paid the final repayment for the 20-year loan. The current tenants of the pub, John and Linda Griffiths, have been running The Beauchamp Arms for 15 years with support from the council. While the loan was being repaid, Friends of the Beauchamp Arms’ was set up as the pub’s financial safety net, raising funds through village events to support the maintenance, repairs and small building projects at the pub. Ian Brown, who heads the group, said: “We hold at least four big village events each year with the proceeds of three of them going towards the pub and the fourth given to charity. The last major job we paid for was replacing the bar. The purchase and running of the pub has been entirely supported by the community throughout the 20 years.”

Boojum founder starts expansion of barbecued meat concept Bubbacue with second Belfast site: John Blisard, founder of burrito brand Boojum, has started expansion of his slow-cooked, barbecued meat concept Bubbacue by opening a second site in Belfast. The venue has opened in Botanic Avenue on the former site of Cafe Renoir, creating 15 jobs. The restaurant is only metres from Blisard’s former venture, Boojum, which he sold to brothers David and Andrew Maxwell in July 2015. Blisard told the Belfast Telegraph: “The building became available and Botanic is a great spot, as we knew with Boojum. We are returning home and it’s a bit full-circle. We thought our offering, product and brand would be a good match for the students and young professionals.” The Bubbacue concept allows diners to choose one of three styles (sandwich, bowl or salad), with a barbecued filling (pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, spicy sausage or halloumi cheese), and a selection of hot and cold sides. Blisard said the company had further plans for growth, including locations across Northern Ireland and the Republic. However, he added: “The main focus is maintaining the quality service and quality food. We aren’t going to sacrifice that for expansion.” The debut Bubbacue is in Callender Street.

MasterChef: The Professionals finalist gets go-ahead for ‘farm-to-fork’ restaurant in Derbyshire: SHB Hospitality, owned by 2014 MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Sven-Hanson Britt, has been given the go-ahead to open a “farm-to-table” restaurant in Derbyshire. Britt, who reached the final of the BBC television show in 2014, losing out to winner Jamie Scott, has had his plans to convert unused buildings at Hardley Hill Farm, near Sutton-on-the-Hill, into a 45-cover restaurant approved by South Derbyshire District Council. The venue will focus on ingredients grown on the farm or sourced locally. The application stated: “The concept will be to operate an evocative and beautiful restaurant focused entirely on the experience of the guest, where all the ingredients come from surrounding farms and quality local producers. It is intended to concentrate on using food grown and produced as locally as possible.” Britt began his career as an apprentice at London’s Ritz Hotel, where he worked his way up to sous chef in seven years. The development includes a new access road leading to the restaurant’s 40-space car park, reports the Derby Telegraph. Hadley Hill Farm is owned by Trusley Estate.

Haig Club launches Birmingham skyline scotch bar in partnership with Black and White Hospitality: Haig Club whisky has launched its debut scotch bar on Level 25 of The Cube in Birmingham as a partnership with Black and White Hospitality’s Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill. The Haig Club Bar is located next to the restaurant with a dedicated entrance and views across the city. It seats 36 guests and showcases the Haig Club and Haig Club Clubman brands through a specially crafted drinks menu and cocktail list, alongside small plates and sharing dishes. Customers can also purchase their own Haig Club bottle to be kept behind the bar. The interior design has taken reference from the copper and blue of the Haig Club brand and is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 6pm to 1am, and is also available for private hire. Max Bennett, operations manager at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill in Birmingham, said: “The bar has been designed to create an exclusive experience for our guests, with a dedicated and knowledgeable team to welcome them. We know it will soon become a must-visit destination for whisky-lovers and cocktail connoisseurs, in addition to offering a unique venue for business meetings and private celebrations.”

Nobu opens third London restaurant within its first European hotel, in Shoreditch: Nobu has opened its third London restaurant within its first European hotel, in Shoreditch. The group, founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, has opened 240-cover Nobu Restaurant & Bar at the hotel in Willow Street. There is also an 80-capacity, four-level courtyard, a ten-seat sushi bar and a chef’s table for 18 overlooking the open kitchen. The bar offers vintage sakes, limited edition Japanese whiskies and rare champagne, while the space features materials inspired by the local area including concrete, bronze, oak, glass, and textiles. The menu from Matsuhisa, executive chef Greg Seregi and head sushi chef Teruya Noriyoshi features Japanese, Peruvian and other South American elements, including Nobu classics such as black cod miso and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno. Earlier this month, Nobu appointed Roche Communications as PR agency for its London restaurants to bring the brand’s “history, people and dishes to the forefront of London’s ever-competitive dining scene as it celebrates its 20th year in the capital”. Nobu has more than 30 restaurants worldwide.

Indoor adventure golf concept to start expansion by opening sister site at Derby development: Discovery Adventure Golf, a partnership between former Goldman Sachs entrepreneur Elizabeth Perrin and experienced leisure operator Chris Richards, is to start expanding its indoor Treetop Adventure Golf concept with a second site, in Derby. The company will open the venue at the Highcross shopping centre as part of a “major reconfiguration” of the former House of Fraser unit. Highcross owner Hammerson has been given the go-ahead by the city council to redevelop the unit, which is spread over three floors totalling about 100,000 square feet. As part of the reconfiguration, the space will be divided into eight individual units of varying floor space to accommodate a range of operators including retail, food and beverage and leisure. Treetop Adventure Golf will anchor the leisure offer and has signed for an 18,300 square foot unit. Hammerson UK shopping centres director Peter Cooper told The Business Desk: “The planning approval marks a major milestone in the enhancement of Highcross, allowing us to put new flagships and concepts in place and create a fresh and relevant tenant mix. With the addition of Treetop Adventure Golf, Highcross will soon offer a leisure experience to complement its leading mix of retail.” Perrin and Richards launched Treetop Adventure Golf at St David’s shopping centre in Cardiff in 2015.

New Indian restaurant concept Darjeeling Express launches in Carnaby: New Indian restaurant concept Darjeeling Express has launched in Carnaby in the West End. The venue has opened on the top floor of Kingly Court and is the brainchild of self-taught cook Asma Khan. Darjeeling Express offers authentic Indian street food in large sharing platters replicating the “dawaat” or feast tradition. The 1,206 square foot restaurant features an open kitchen, while communal tables in the centre enhance the family-dining feel. Khan said: “Located in the heart of the West End alongside such diverse cuisines is the perfect environment to introduce Londoners to authentic Indian home cooking.”

Hop Stuff Brewery founder – company is growing 136% a year: London-based Hop Stuff Brewery founder James Yeomans has said the company is growing 136% a year and is targeting revenue of £5m in the next two years. Having hosted the company’s first investors night, Yeomans said: “The power of people is huge. In 2013 we opened Hop Stuff with the support of 72 investors, we’ve now hosted the first investor night for our new 600 investors! Hop Stuff is growing 136% a year, and it’s thanks to the belief and support of these amazing people that we’re able to keep it up! From a one-man band to a £1m business in three years, from a 600-ambassador business to a £5,000,000 (business) in the next two years! Can’t wait – you guys are awesome!” Earlier this year, Hop Stuff Brewery raised almost £750,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube towards expansion.

Greene King fined £24,000 after dessert wrongly sold as ‘egg-free’ sends boy into anaphylactic shock: Greene King has been fined £24,000 after a baked Alaska dessert wrongly sold as “egg-free” in one of its pubs sent a boy with a severe egg allergy into anaphylactic shock. Luton Magistrates’ Court heard the 11-year-old ate the dessert at The Globe Inn in Linslade, Bedfordshire, in April last year because staff thought the dish was egg-free. Greene King admitted to misselling the product, issued an unreserved apology and told the court the company’s procedures had been overhauled, with area chefs regularly visiting pubs to ensure they had the latest allergen sheets. The company also co-operated fully with the investigation by Central Bedfordshire Council and spent “considerable” sums of money to improve its IT systems. The court was told the modified baked Alaska was introduced by the company in October 2015. However, it wasn’t until a month later that Greene King’s nutritionist discovered the recipe was no longer egg-free – with claims the wrong information was given by the supplier. Although an email was sent to a staff member requesting all pubs download a revised allergen sheet, the member of staff in question had left the company that day. The court was told pub staff had recommended the baked Alaska as information sheets they’d been given wrongly suggested it did not contain egg but was made with marshmallow instead. The boy’s mother asked the waitress to go away and double check – and triple checked by asking the manager. He then produced the allergens sheet displaying the incorrect information. Her son suffered an anaphylactic shock and although she immediately treated him with an EpiPen, he was still taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital by ambulance to be checked, reports the Eastern Daily Press. Passing sentence, district judge Nicholas Leigh Smith said: “This baked Alaska had previously been egg-free but the change was not effectively communicated. The system did not work, the information was not collected and the boy’s mother was given dangerously inaccurate information five months later.” Greene King was also told to pay a £120 victim surcharge, with court costs still to be agreed.

Las Iguanas closes Oxford city centre site: Las Iguanas, the South American-inspired restaurant brand owned by Casual Dining Group, has closed its site in Oxford city centre. The company confirmed the venue in Park End Street, which shut earlier this month, would not reopen. It posted news of the closure on Facebook, adding that the nearest Las Iguanas to Oxford was in Milton Keynes or Reading. A spokesman told the Oxford Mail: “We do from time to time identify a location that may no longer have a long-term future in our estate. After careful consideration, the decision has been made to cease trading at this site. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers and our employees.”

Shepherd Cox acquires Manchester site for 18th hotel: Property company Shepherd Cox has snapped up its 18th hotel after adding the Comfort Inn Manchester North in Middleton, near Rochdale, to its portfolio. The company acquired the 42-bedroom purpose-built hotel in Manchester Old Road, two miles from Junction 19 on the M6, off a guide asking price of offers over £2m. Shepherd Cox director Nick Carlile said: “We are delighted to add the Comfort Inn Manchester North as the 18th hotel to our portfolio. It is well positioned and offers opportunities to increase the business through strategic occupancy and rate management. We are continuing our sourcing of attractive hotel assets with our agency partners.” Martin Davis, director of GVA’s hotel and leisure team in the north, which brokered the deal, added: “The deal was arranged by way of a low-key, confidential marketing campaign that demonstrates the continued demand for quality hotel assets in the north of England.”

Taco Bell to open first Kent site, 18th in total: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell is continuing its expansion across the south of England by opening its first site in Kent. The company plans to open its 18th UK site in Dartford High Street. It is moving into the premises currently occupied by KFC, which is moving into the Priory Shopping Centre. Taco Bell has been granted permission by Dartford Borough Council to install illuminated signs but an opening date has yet to be announced, reports Kent Live. Earlier this month, the company opened a site in Chichester, West Sussex. Founded in 1962 by a former US Marine, the Taco Bell chain serves more than 36.8 million people a week in 6,500 outlets worldwide.

Roomzzz gets go-ahead by government inspector for £10m Harrogate aparthotel: Aparthotel group Roomzzz has been given the go-ahead by a government inspector for a £10m site at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. Roomzzz lodged the appeal after its plans for a 98-bedroom aparthotel were refused by Harrogate Borough Council. Architects BDP are designing the hotel, which will be the brand’s sixth after openings in Chester, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham. Roomzzz UK chief executive Naveen Ahmed told The Business Desk: “We’re delighted our appeal has been successful and that Harrogate will be the latest edition to our aparthotels portfolio. The company was founded in Yorkshire so we know Harrogate well and believe it is the ideal location to expand the Roomzzz brand.” Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, added: “We are delighted planning permission has been granted for Roomzzz, which will really enhance our offering at the showground. From our visitors and competitors at the Great Yorkshire Show to delegates and exhibitors for the Yorkshire Event Centre and Pavilions of Harrogate, the addition of 98 rooms for overnight accommodation will take us to the next level.

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