After almost a year in the pipeline, planning permission has now been granted for the refurbishment and expansion of The George Hotel in Colchester.
In January 2017, Harwich-based developer Flying Trade Group, behind the Surya Hotels brand, submitted an application to completely renovate the 700-year-old building and convert the nearby St Nicholas House into a 44-bedroom property.
Work has now been given the green light by Colchester Borough Council and will begin in 2018.
Once complete, the two sites will run in collaboration, almost doubling the rooms available to 91.
St Nicholas House was previously used as a Coop department store before becoming home to JJB Sports until 2009, when the space become vacant and has been ever since.
The project follows on from Flying Trade’s construction of six apartments at One Castle Park, which also included the development of a coffee shop/archaeological exhibit – Claudius Gateway Museum.
Approval was previously granted to convert the space into 19 apartments, but the scheme never went ahead. The ground floor of the building is currently used by the Entertainer Toy Shop and the Sweatshop, which will both remain.
Flying Trade plans to renovate and transform St Nicholas House and then use the 44 bedrooms created while it sets about restoring rooms at The George.
Renovation work at The Grade-II listed George Hotel will be carried out sympathetically, due to its status as ‘’particularly important building of more than special interest’.
Flying Trade plans to have archaeological and historical surveys across the hotel, which features elements of woodwork and beams dating back more than 700 years.
Flying Trade CEO Suki Dulai said: “We have to ensure that whilst we bring the hotel back up to date with modern facilities, that we don’t lose the historical atmosphere of the building. Our aim is to keep the charm and ambience of the hotel, extending and offering consistent standards, good food and accommodation.”
He added: “We continue to invest heavily in Colchester with The George Project along with St Nicholas House, Claudius Gateway and One Castle Park, with an emphasis on making the most of the town’s rich history. We aim to open up the cellar of The George and emulate the One Castle Park project by exposing the remains of a Roman road which runs beneath it.