Demolition of remains of Robin Hood Hotel backed by town councillors
3:11pm Thu Jul 28, 2016
 
The remains of the former Robin Hood Hotel, Newark
The remains of the former Robin Hood Hotel, Newark
Plans to demolish the remains of the former Robin Hood Hotel in Newark have been welcomed by town councillors who say it is time for the derelict buildings to come down.
An artists' impression of the proposed Travelodge hotel
An artists' impression of the proposed Travelodge hotel
Historic England and Nottinghamshire Building Preservation Trust are, however, both standing firm in their view that the buildings should be saved.

MF Strawson, who own the site, want to get rid of the three Grade II listed townhouses, which are all that remain of the hotel on Lombard Street, and build three ground floor units with a 64-bedroom Travelodge hotel on two upper floors.

A planning application has been submitted to Newark and Sherwood District Council.

At a meeting of the town council planning committee Mr David Lloyd said it was well-known that Newark needed more overnight hotel accommodation.

He said events had been lost to Newark Showground because there were not enough bed spaces in the town.

He said that in his view demolition would be a positive move.

"I do not rate the design highly but I feel it is better than retention," he said of the Travelodge plans.

Committee member Mrs Gill Dawn said five years ago the town council had decided the hotel buildings should be demolished.

The matter had then gone before Newark and Sherwood District Council planning committee, which had decided they must be kept.

"It is time that the bulldozers come in and knock them down," she said.

Mrs Cathy Barker-Powell said she was in favour of saving old buildings wherever possible, or incorporating their facades.

"But I think we have come to the end of the road with this one," she said.

"It is difficult to justify to the public not voting for demolition and something new."

The committee chairman, Mr Tony Roberts, said the matter was as important to the town as the Sainsbury's application to build a new supermarket on the former county council highways depot off Kelham Road.

"This is an important gateway to the town," he said. "We must question the value of what is left."

He said the redevelopment proposals might allow the pavements and road near the site to be widened.

"This is a good opportunity to get rid of the blight and an opportunity to sort out the pavement and roads as well," he said. "There is honestly nothing of value left."

Mr Roberts questioned whether they could ask the architect to look again at the detail and design of the Travelodge proposal.

Historic England believes the scale and design of the plans would not reveal and enhance the significance of the conservation area.

It has recommended that the application should be refused.

Nottinghamshire Building Preservation Trust, which had proposed turning the buildings into offices, said it strongly supported the principle of retaining and conserving the remaining part of the hotel.

Its secretary, Mr David Atkins, said the trust believed the developer had a duty to explore all possible means of retaining the listed townhouses and the district council should be required to ensure its survival.

"The historic context of Newark is becoming more important in the county and the country's heritage," said Mr Atkins.

"The Civil War Centre, the castle and the death of King John, the medieval church, buildings and streets of the town centre are all an increasing tourist attraction which should not be debased by this proposal for an anywhere building on an uninspired Potterdyke development."

Strawsons bought the hotel, along with the former district council-owned Potterdyke carpark, more than ten years ago.

Asda built a supermarket on the site and Strawsons have built retail units.

The sale agreement was that the hotel should be redeveloped by November 2015 or the district council could make a legal claim against the developer.

The district council will have the final say on whether or not to improve the application, which is expected to go before its planning committee in the autumn.

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