Making a case for Robin Hood Hotel restoration
7:30am Sat Feb 18, 2017
Graphic designer Damien Pepper’s vision of how what is left of the former Robin Hood Hotel could look after restoration.
Graphic designer Damien Pepper’s vision of how what is left of the former Robin Hood Hotel could look after restoration.
A graphic designer who would like to see an historic Newark building restored has produced his own vision of what it could look like.
Mr Damien Pepper, of Fernwood, wants to see the Robin Hood Hotel townhouses, which are all that remains of the building, brought back into use.

He believes the original brickwork could be restored and the building used as shops or offices.

MF Strawson Ltd, which owns the site, wants to demolish the three Grade II listed townhouses to make way for a 66-bedroom Travelodge.

The ground floor would have three units and the hotel would be on two upper floors. The plan includes a box at the top of the building that would be lit at night.

Mr Pepper, who works for the Advertiser, said: “I saw the mock-up of the Travelodge and I didn’t like it. It’s just a crude design. It doesn’t fit with the town and I think it’s a shame to knock down old buildings for the sake of something that’s not very nice.

“Even though the Robin Hood looks a mess, I think underneath the green paintwork the original brickwork is still present.

“I am more used to restoring old Advertiser photographs but I challenged myself to rebuild the Robin Hood and imagine what it would look like.”

Mr Pepper said he had attended wedding receptions and parties at the Robin Hood Hotel.

“I don’t have many memories of it because I was under ten at the time but I can see the potential of the building,” he said.

“I can appreciate that a lot of people want it knocked down because at the minute it looks horrible, but if you got a sandblaster on it, did repair work and restored it to how it was before it was painted, it would look much better.”

The Robin Hood Hotel, once one of Newark’s finest, closed in 1999.

It was included in the sale of the Potterdyke site (which was redeveloped with an Asda store and shops) with provision that the hotel should be redeveloped by November 2015 or Newark and Sherwood District Council could make a legal claim against the developer.

Nottinghamshire Building Preservation Trust previously proposed turning the three townhouses into offices in an estimated £1m project.

'Simple to repair'

Mr Chris Healy, a conservation builder who has lived in Newark for 35 years, said he wanted to see the former hotel conserved.

He said: “This building is the sort I have been working on with the same sort of quality and style. They are simple to repair.”

He has inspected the former hotel with the Nottinghamshire Building Preservation Trust and with the Society For The Protection Of Ancient Buildings.

“I looked at the condition of the buildings to see what actually could be done and why they were in the state they were in and there was very little wrong with them,” Mr Healy said.

He said damage had been caused by a pigeon infestation and areas of damp.

“There’s wear and tear, as you would expect in a building 300 years-old,” he said.

“The sash windows at the front worked perfectly.

“They were important buildings when they were built — for people who would have been wealthy.

“They would have been for people of some social standing.

“It might be that the oldest one dates from 50 years after the civil war because it could have been built after the civil war damage.”

Mr Healy said the buildings would be ideal as an office.

“You wouldn’t have to spend a huge amount of time and money just to get the front looking perfect. Apart from anything else, the quality of the architecture on the rest of the development is dire.”

The proposal for the Travelodge and ground floor units was initially due to be considered by the district council’s planning committee on February 7, but planning officers are still preparing their report and it is likely to be considered on March 7.

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