Major hotel transformation complete
Work to transform the former Robin Hood Hotel in Newark is now complete, thanks to the relentless commitment of Newark and Sherwood District Council.
After standing derelict for more than 18 years, the District Council, in a joint venture with the land owner MF Strawson Ltd, intervened through a commitment that would transform the building into a thriving hotel once again. This was no easy feat and it has taken the District Council many years in discussions, negotiations and planning applications to get to the position reached today.
Using its money reserves, Newark and Sherwood District Council committed £3.3 million, (being 50% of the total development costs), to complete the development, knowing that on completion, the hotel and the commercial space would be sold to an investor and the capital would be returned in full to the authority. Structuring the finances for the project in this manner has meant that this landmark site has been returned to suitable use without any cost to the local taxpayer.
After more than a year of construction work, the site is now complete. This milestone marks the start of a major boost to Newark’s local economy, increasing visitor numbers to the district, increasing town centre footfall and helping redress the shortage of hotel accommodation in the Newark area as well as creating a number of jobs for local people.
The Travelodge hotel chain has taken the lease for the 66-bedroom hotel while 900 square metres of ground floor units, suitable for a variety of uses, are being marketed for commercial tenants.
Newark and Sherwood District Council’s long-term vision is to transform Newark and its surrounding areas for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses. Its ambition is to not only fulfil the town’s full potential but to extend beyond it, transforming Newark into a town people choose to work, live and visit while creating a self-sustaining legacy for future generations. The completion of the hotel development is the first phase of this grand scheme and the District Council is excited to see more developments coming to Newark.
Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “From the very offset we have been committed to re-opening the infamous Robin Hood Hotel doors to weary travellers. If we had not intervened in this iconic building’s development, we would not be where we are today. I am absolutely delighted to see the work on such a significant building in Newark now complete, at absolutely no cost to the taxpayer. I know residents are just as keen as I am to see an end to what was a long-standing blight on the town and I am thrilled to see the site restored and come back into use after so many years.
“I extend my thanks to the directors of RHH Newark Limited and the building contractors, Lindum, for forging ahead and making such fantastic progress despite nearly a year of national restrictions. To deliver a redevelopment such as this throughout the pandemic is a huge credit to all involved. I am delighted to welcome Travelodge to the town, which, alongside the new commercial units, will bring new jobs and business to the town and district, as well as helping to support and grow the visitor economy.”
Sanjiv Kohli, Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “It has been a pleasure working with Niel Strawson, Tim Bradford of Banks Long and Co and Kevin Damarell of Lindum in bringing forward this iconic scheme. This development is a major element of the Council's town centre interventions and developments. We want to create further confidence in the town, increase and improve its profile to act as a catalyst for further investment in facilities, services and new developments for the local community.”
Lindum director Kevin Damarell said: “The Robin Hood Hotel, which was a well-known and prominent building in Newark, spent 20 years standing empty and decaying so Lindum is proud to have been part of the team that’s brought it back into use.
“This has not been a straightforward construction project. We had to work around the fact the site was in a very tight town centre location and was right next to a major road.
“We also had to work within the requirements of the heritage experts, who asked us to preserve and protect some of the original features. This meant using scaffolding to prop up the external wall while we demolished and rebuilt the rest of the structure.
"The project also began prior to the Covid-pandemic, which meant we had to completely reassess working practices and hygiene arrangements part way through in order to facilitate social distancing and staff safety. But despite the issues we’ve faced, we are really happy with the finished building and the impact the project has had on the appearance of this part of Newark.
"In all, it’s been a complex, interesting and at times challenging construction project but one that now stands as a prominent reminder of what can be achieved through ambitious yet sensitive town centre regeneration.”
Niel Strawson, Director of MF Strawson Ltd, said: “I am delighted, in conjunction with the Council, to finally finish the Potterdyke development. It has been 18 years of hard work and I think the end result not only looks good, but will also be a great asset in the re-vitalising of the town centre.”
A spokesperson for Travelodge said: "We are delighted to be opening our 569th Travelodge in Newark which is our first hotel in the town and our ninth property in Nottinghamshire. With room rates starting from £29, Newark-on-Trent Travelodge will be a strong magnet for the local economy helping to attract new business and leisure visitors to the area when lockdown restrictions ease."
Newark has also seen further positive developments, and in the last month, was awarded £25 million as part of the Government’s Towns Fund to support nine long-term projects that span the next 30 years, with a focus on further regenerating the town centre, boosting businesses and improving infrastructure.
Some projects have already benefitted from a £750,000 Accelerated Towns Fund grant, including the Newark College expansion which will increase town centre footfall. This funding has also helped develop the proposals for 32 Stodman Street (former Marks and Spencer) in Newark town centre where, following public consultation last year, transformational final plans are set to be unveiled shortly.