Negotiations still underway to transform one of Nottingham’s most historic buildings

Artist impression on how the new Guildhall could look
By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

Negotiations are still under way with developers to transform one of Nottingham’s most historic buildings into a hotel.

The Guildhall in Burton Street still remains empty despite major plans for a hotel and leisure facility being announced six years ago.

The site – which was sold subject to contract in 2016 to Miller Birch – is still owned by the city council.

Miller Birch remain the purchaser the council are in discussions with, but the site may need restoration work.

Nottingham City Council has now decided to spend £130,000 on carrying out a structural survey of the Guildhall  as well as cleaning up pigeon waste from the building.

Under a delegated decision, the council decided to progress with plans to ensure the Grade II listed site is sold to a developer for redevelopment in April to May this year.

A former court, the Guildhall was built in 1887, and also sits alongside the former police and fire stations.

The council says the listed building has been earmarked for “an upscale, four-star hotel with restaurant, bars, function space and spa facilities”.

It says the hotel will be “sensitively renovated to draw on the features of the historic building”.

The Guildhall site in the heart of Nottingham city centre

Ascena Developments lodged a planning application with the council in May 2020 for the change of use of the Guildhall and Fire Station House to a mixed hotel and leisure use development.

This includes bar and restaurants, a gym and spa, a conference centre including wedding facilities and the demolition of the rear section of the existing Guildhall and independent ‘Island Building’ to the rear.

This will create a new five-storey rear extension to the Guildhall for 20 bedrooms, and a new 13 storey building comprising of 101 guest rooms and a high level restaurant and roof terrace.

There would also be 38 hotel bedrooms proposed within the existing listed building as well as conference rooms, and two former courtrooms restored and converted into a restaurant and bar.

Planning documents submitted by Ascena says the proposal will deliver a 159-bed hotel – along with ancillary uses – creating 120 new construction jobs and 180 new jobs in the hospitality sector.

The company states: “The site comprises a highly sustainable location, within Nottingham city centre and comprises two vacant Grade II listed buildings: The Guildhall; and the former Police and Fire Stations at the Guildhall.

“The listed buildings have been vacant for almost 10 years, have become deteriorated and are in need of restoration and refurbishment.

“The site represents a major heritage asset to the city and this development is an opportunity to strengthen the city centre offer.”

The council says it is also in weekly pre-application discussions to bring forward a development of student accommodation on the remainder of the site.

The council published a delegated decision on January 24, 2022, to use £130,000 to make improvements to the building.

It said: “The Guildhall complex is due to be sold to a developer for redevelopment in April/May 2022. Sale contracts have been exchanged.

“Up to completion the council is responsible for the overall maintenance and repair of the building. Due to it being sold this is being limited to works which ensure the building is compliant in terms of health and safety and to protect the listed features within the building.

“Due to the building remaining vacant for a number of years water ingress has caused significant areas of rot to development which have caused structural issues.

“Gaps in the building’s exterior have also allowed pigeons to infest the building resulting in guano [excrement] causing significant damage to listed parts of the property. To ensure the Council complies with its health and safety responsibilities a structural survey of the property is required followed by a clean-up of the pigeon waste.”

No-one from Miller Birch could be reached for comment.

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