As much as £130,000 has been signed off by Nottingham City Council to spend on structural surveys of the Grade-II Guildhall and clear pigeon droppings ahead of its transformation into a luxury hotel with a rooftop restaurant.
The landmark building, on the corner of Burton Street and South Sherwood Street in the city centre, was once home to a magistrates’ court and a fire and police station after it was built in 1887.
To comply with its health and safety responsibilities, the city council needs to ensure a structural survey of the property is complete, followed by a clean-up of the droppings.
Gaps in the building’s exterior have allowed pigeons to infest in the building resulting in the bird mess, which, a council report says, is “causing significant damage to listed parts of the property”.
The report clarifies the building is due to be sold to a developer for the ambitious redevelopment to start in the coming months. Sale contracts have been exchanged.
But up to the point of completion, the council is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building which is why it has approved the £130,000 of work to spruce up the building.
Plans for the long-awaited redevelopment of the site were given the go-ahead in August 2020.
The 13-storey, £120 million project aims to restore the Guildhall to its former glory, as well as build a large new block behind it.
The development will also feature two new bars/restaurants, a spa, a gym, conference facilities and a glass connection to link the tower with the historic Guildhall building.
A fine-dining rooftop restaurant, set to offer panoramic views over the city, is also included in the designs, which will see a total of 160 hotel rooms.
Described as a ‘landmark project’, it will transform the site, and include the demolition of dilapidated modern office buildings behind the historic building.
Led by Locksley Hotels Ltd and Ascena, existing courtrooms in the building will be converted into bar and restaurant facilities, retaining original listed features.
The Guildhall building itself will house the main entrance to the hotel, while the extensions at the back of the building would be knocked down. The project is expected to create hundreds of jobs.
In November 2019, Ascena was announced as the operator of the four-star hotel.
Ascena owns numerous hotels across the country and the Michelin-starred restaurant Opheem.
At the time of the announcement of the operator, it was reported that its business partner, Aktar Islam – who runs the restaurant in Birmingham – will be running the new Guildhall rooftop restaurant.
The city council report says the empty Guildhall building has remained vacant for a number of years, which led to water ingress causing areas of rot which has caused structural issues.
Consultancy practice Pick Everard has been tasked with carrying out structural surveys of the premises, and council-run Nottingham City Homes will remove pigeon droppings from areas of the building.
Before the latest hotel plans were submitted, Nottingham Trent University pulled out of proposals for a new teaching building within the Guildhall site.
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