Iconic former Norwich hotel to be back in action with new rooftop terrace
PUBLISHED: 08:09 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:59 14 October 2019
The Norwich Society
Plans to bring an iconic former Norwich hotel back into use have been approved by councillors.
The Royal Hotel, on Norwich's Bank Plain, will be brought back into use after councillors granted plans to convert the upper floors of the building from office use.
Proposals include "interior alterations, a rear extension and the creation of a rooftop level bar and restaurant" which will be visible from the surrounding area and "allow views across the rooftops of Tombland" towards the cathedral.
The site, at the top of Prince of Wales Road, is home to the Be At One cocktail bar, a property consultant and a marketing firm, which would remain on-site when plans move forward to restore the 115-bed hotel after 42 years.
Norwich charity the OPEN Youth Trust, whose headquarters are located just across the street, expressed support for the change of use, but the Norwich Buddhist Centre raised concerns about noise from construction works and the creation of the terrace.
At a planning meeting on Thursday, October 10, council officers recommended the plans be approved, and said the scheme would "increase vitality and activity in the city centre" and be the "optimum viable use of a historic listed building".
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Councillors questions over the scheme focused on the impact of noise from the proposed roof terrace bar and restaurant on guests and the nearby area. The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans for the hotel - with the added condition to restrict the use of speakers on the roof terrace.
David Chaplin, the chairman of the Maids Head Hotel, objected to the plans on the grounds that "additional hotels will impact the viability of existing hotels who face difficult market conditions".
He said: "Since 2016, hotel revenues have achieved 7pc growth - that's not much when the Norwich economy is expanding."
But planning agent Tom Willshaw, speaking on behalf of the Royal Hotel, said: "There is a gap in the market for a hotel of this type. The proposed scheme would be positive for the Norwich hotel market.
And Labour councillor Roger Ryan said: "This is an iconic building in the city skyline.
"It's going to create 40 jobs which is wonderful for Norwich.
"I think it's a welcome scheme and I'm delighted it will continue to be a hotel in the future."