CONSTRUCTION has started on a new £6 million hotel and gym facility in Harrogate town centre.

Leeds based developer Gregory Property Group bought the former bowling alley in 2011 and secured planning approval to redevelop the Tower Street site in February 2013.

The firm had already secured a 25 year agreement to lease with Travelodge to operate a 70 bed hotel and more recently agreed a 15 year lease with Pure Gym to take 16,900 sq ft on the ground floor and basement.

Barry Gregory of Gregory Property Group said: “We are very pleased to start work on site after such a long planning process.

"Once the bowling alley closed down in 2009 the buildings deteriorated to become an eyesore but now we are to provide an attractive building with facilities that the town really needs.”

Crawford Cole acting for Travelodge Hotels said: "Our existing hotel on Parliament Street performs strongly all year round and we have been keen to open a second site for some considerable time.

"We are delighted to expand our bed space in Harrogate and are pleased to play our part revitalising Tower Street."

Angela Crawshaw, property director at Pure Gym added: "We are delighted to see progress on site and excited to be bringing low cost fitness to Harrogate where people can visit a high quality gym with 24/7 access without paying a fortune.”

Rex Procter & Partners are project management consultants and Barnfield Construction has been appointed to deliver the scheme.

The construction programme is expected to complete in February 2015 with the hotel and gym expected to be operational immediately thereafter.