£2m refurb for Norfolk hotel where Princess Diana was born
PUBLISHED: 14:53 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:14 11 September 2019
A charity is set to spend more than £2m extending a hotel for the disabled which was the birthplace of Diana, Princess of Wales.
But most of its 70 staff face being made redundant as it will be closed for much of 2020 while the work takes place.
Park House, on the Sandringham Estate, was given by the Queen to the Leonard Cheshire disability charity in 1983. Since 1987, it has been run as a hotel for disabled people and their families.
Now Leonard Cheshire wants to increase the number of bedrooms from 16 to 24, improve access to the grounds and cover over an outdoor pool.
Hugh Fenn, executive director UK services at Leonard Cheshire, said: "At Park House Hotel we want to be able to offer disabled visitors and their families a world class experience at this iconic location.
"The refurbishment is hugely ambitious and will transform what we are currently able to offer guests, increasing capacity at the same time. There will be improvements made throughout the interior and grounds of the building that sensitively take account of its heritage.
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"By making a considerable investment in its long-term future, the charity is aiming to make Park House Hotel an unrivalled destination for disabled guests and tourists."
The extensive improvement works will mean the hotel will need to close from January 2020, reopening for Christmas 2020.
The charity said the hotel's 70 full and part-time staff had been made aware of the plans and a series of meetings with staff would take place to provide support on an individual basis.
It added: "The scale of the improvements means that we had no other realistic option than to close the hotel for a period.
"A small number of staff will be retained. While it was not financially possible to retain all staff during the closure, we are supporting staff to find alternative employment through redeployment within Leonard Cheshire or partner organisations and offering additional financial incentives for employees to stay with us until building and other works begin."
Recruitment and training for the new hotel is expected to start in August 2020.
Princess Diana spent her early childhood at Park House after being born there on July 1, 1961.