The historic city of Worcester will be poorer following failure to attract a luxury boutique hotel to its centre, its former mayor has said.
The city’s council approved outline planning for a boutique hotel eight years ago on the site of the old Royal Worcester Porcelain complex, but no hotel operator has come forward with a viable plan.
The location will now be turned into 39 apartments, according to local newspaper Worcester News, a move described by councillor Roger Berry, a former mayor of the city, as “a bitter blow”.
“This location was very important for Worcester. We lost a significant amount of industry. We were told we would be getting new jobs but it hasn’t happened. The area is of good quality, but it could be so much better. Offices get turned into apartments and so we lose more potential jobs, and promises get made but don’t happen,” he told the newspaper.
Berkley Homes, which will now take over the former industrial site, says that difficult economic conditions since the credit crunch have put off hotel developers.
Paul O’Connor, head of planning in Worcester, told Worcester News that the location was also wrong. “I still think there is a demand for hotels in Worcester but the question is, they must be on appropriate sites. Given the market at the moment operators were clearly not prepared to take that risk.
Councillor Robert Rowden added: “I would love to see even a five star hotel in Worcester but it would have to be a small one, because I don’t think a large one would be viable.”