New city centre hotel given the go-ahead

new proposed hotel

An artist's impression of the development, as seen from Pottergate. - Credit: AWW

A multi-million pound, 91-bed hotel in the centre of Norwich has been given the go-ahead.

Applicant Associated British Foods Pension Trustees Ltd was given the go-ahead for the hotel in Chamberlain House, above and behind Tesco Metro in Guildhall Hill.

Tesco Metro on Guildhall Hill, Norwich.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The hotel would be above Tesco Metro in Norwich's Guildhall Hill. - Credit: Archant

Empty offices in the Victorian building would be turned into hotel rooms, with an extension where the superstore's loading yard is.

There would also be a guest restaurant and two new retail units at the back. The Tesco store would remain.

Members of Norwich City Council's planning committee unanimously granted permission for the development when they met on Thursday (July 8).

Ian Stutely, Labour city councillor for Town Close, said: "This does look like a good development in planning terms. It depends on the operator to make it a success."

The scheme had been supported by the Norwich Society, but the Norwich Lanes Association had objected.

The association expressed fears it could be a chain hotel and that national brands would move into the new retail units - ruining the character of the Norwich Lanes.

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But Mr Stutely said: "I hope this would provide a regular stream of new customers to the Norwich Lanes, so hopefully, their fears will not come to fruition.

"One the whole, I think this is a good scheme for the city."

Concerns were raised about where people staying at the hotel would be dropped off.

Council officers said there was a taxi rank directly opposite, while Keith Driver, Labour chairman of the committee, said: "I believe there is enough road network around there to drop people off."

Keith Driver, chairman of Norwich City Council's planning committee. Photo: Bill Smith

Labour city councillor Keith Driver, chairman of the planning committee. - Credit: Archant © 2013

He added: "We are talking about 91 bedrooms, so that's about 200 people in that hotel.

"It's good for the economy, for the city at night-time and I think it is ideal."

John Walker of property consultants Ward Hill Walker, previously said bringing the 120-year old building back into use would attract thousands of visitors into the city centre and create new jobs.

Despite the difference in spelling, the Chamberlain House building used to be home to the department store Chamberlins - the most celebrated store in the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Chamberlins on Guildhall Hill, c.1900. Picture: EDP Library

Chamberlins on Guildhall Hill, c.1900. Picture: EDP Library