Plans lodged for new boutique hotel to tap into growing tourism potential of Alnwick
Plans have been lodged to convert a disused building into a boutique hotel in Alnwick town centre.
A high quality 12-bedroom redevelopment of Sion Hall, a former meeting hall and chapel on St Michael’s Lane, is envisaged.
The Grade II listed building, dating from 1729, was used as a warehouse and sales point for a motor factor’s business until around five years ago.
The initial plan was to convert the buildings into five apartments but work stalled more than two years ago.
Current owner Abdul Aziz now aims to tap into the demand for visitor accommodation in the town.
A planning report on his behalf states: ‘The project is seeking to exploit a growing business opportunity – that of small boutique hotels in attractive tourist destinations within Northumberland that can support the wider tourist and visitor economy of the town comprised of visitor attractions, restaurants, cafes and shops and which can fit into town centre or edge of centre locations.
‘The applicant wants to be able to utilise the historic environment of the Sion Meeting House and its setting in St Michael’s Lane to do so.
‘Alnwick has few hotels in the centre of the town which is unusual given its importance as a tourist destination.
‘Timing of the development could be beneficial coming on stream in 2021 and able to take advantage and support what is anticipated to be a strengthened home tourism market in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.’
It is estimated that five full-time equivalent jobs would be created to manage, service and maintain the hotel.
The rooms would be on the ground and first floor of the Sion Meeting House and on the first floor of the chapel building.
The ground floor of the rear building would be used for a kitchen and breakfast room/restaurant, catering only for guests.
A small residents lounge is also proposed off the reception area and a lift in the main building.
There would be no designated parking but it is proposed that some resident permits or town centre business permits could be obtained to enable staff and guests to park on the off-street bays on St Michael’s Lane or in Roxboro’ place car park.