Plans to build 17 town houses in Ashby de la Zouch to help secure the future of the town’s Royal Hotel have been approved by North West Leicestershire District Council.
The planning application, by hotel owners Oakland Hotels Limited, was agreed by councillors at a Planning Committee meeting held on Thursday (July 20).
The development of town houses on land surrounding the hotel was approved to enable the repair and refurbishment of the Grade II* listed building, and to bring it back into use.
The Royal Hotel closed in 2018 due to financial pressures and the need for investment to bring the building up to modern standards and has stood empty while its owners worked out a viable plan.
The building on Station Road was included on Historic England’s 2021 Heritage at Risk Register. Officers from NWLDC have worked for several years with Oakland Hotels Limited to ensure the hotel is maintained and looked after while it is empty.
While a development of this type would not normally be approved under current planning policies, the proposals were given the green light under ‘enabling development’ rules to help secure the future of the Royal Hotel.
A Section 106 legal agreement will be included with the planning permission to make sure the repairs to the hotel are completed.
Oakland Hotels Limited is also selling the adjoining Bath Grounds land to Ashby Town Council, to help fund the renovation of the hotel and to ensure the open green space at the grounds is publicly available for future generations.
Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of NWLDC, said: “The Royal Hotel is a prominent heritage building in Ashby that is incredibly important to local people.
“We’ve worked closely with the owners over the years to safeguard the building, and planners have now agreed to a scheme that could ensure the Royal Hotel is soon restored and open to the public.”
Chris Smith, Leader of Ashby de la Zouch Town Council, said: “The town council welcomes that the decision of the district council’s Planning Committee to approve the latest planning application from Oakland Hotels Ltd. has clarified the future of the Royal Hotel.
“The town council has played its part by ensuring monies received for the purchase of the Bath Grounds are spent on redevelopment of the hotel. It is now time for Oaklands Hotels Ltd. to proceed with the redevelopment as soon as possible to bring the former hotel back to life and re-establish it as a landmark, rather than as an eye-sore, of the town.”
Simon Dawson, Director of Oakland Hotels Ltd., said: “The Directors of Oakland Hotels Limited, owners of The Royal Hotel in Ashby de la Zouch, are delighted by the decision of the NWLDC planning committee to grant permission for the development of the Royal Hotel site.
“This has been a complex and time-consuming application process and we would like to express our thanks to the planning officers, who have been extremely professional and diligent throughout.
“This decision allows us to now focus on renovating this important and iconic building and, together with our partners Condor Hotels, start to plan the reopening of the hotel as soon as possible.
“We remain committed to providing not only economic benefits to the local area, but a facility of which the people of Ashby can once again be proud.”