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Plans to bring Royal Hotel in Norwich back into action take big step forward

PUBLISHED: 10:44 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:28 03 October 2019

Plans to bring the Royal Hotel back into use have been recommended for approval Picture: The Norwich Society

Plans to bring the Royal Hotel back into use have been recommended for approval Picture: The Norwich Society

The Norwich Society

A plan to restore the former use of one of Norwich's most prominent buildings has moved a step closer to becoming a reality.

The picture was taken as Laurel and Hardy prepared to leave The Royal Hotel for The Hippodrome Theatre in Norwich on their February 1954 appearance. Asked why they were wearing berets, they explained:
‘We find they keep our heads warm in this climate, and they don’t take up so much room as hats when getting into low-roofed British cars.’The picture was taken as Laurel and Hardy prepared to leave The Royal Hotel for The Hippodrome Theatre in Norwich on their February 1954 appearance. Asked why they were wearing berets, they explained: ‘We find they keep our heads warm in this climate, and they don’t take up so much room as hats when getting into low-roofed British cars.’

The Royal Hotel, which was designed by renowned architect Edward Boardman in the 1800s, has not been used for this function since 1977 - the same year the original Star Wars hit the big screens.

However earlier this year, Indian investment company Turnit Capital unveiled plans to convert part of the building back into a hotel, with global brand Accor lined up to operate it.

These plans now look step to move a step closer, with Norwich City Council's planning committee due to consider it next week.

And if members choose to follow the recommendations of planning officers at City Hall, the scheme will be given the go ahead.

The proposals had originally called for the hotel to include 127 bedrooms, however, this has since been reduced to 115, following negotiations with environmental protection officers at City Hall.

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A dozen of the rooms were originally proposed to be situated above the Be At One bar on Bank Plain, which opened around four years ago in place of the former Ponana.

However, environment officers were concerned this could result in noise complaints being made against the bar from future hotel guests.

This, a report to the planning committee says, would put the council in the awkward position of having to take action against the bar over noise nuisance, despite the bar having been there first.

As a result of these discussions, it was agreed these 12 rooms would instead be used as office space, bringing down the overall number of rooms in the hotel.

In his report, case officer Rob Webb said the development "would result in the optimum viable use of an historic listed building in the city centre, helping to encourage future maintenance and upkeep of the building".

He added: "It would also contribute to the increased vitality and activity in this part of the city centre, with associated social and economic benefits."

The planning committee will consider whether to grant permission on Thursday, October 10.

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