Borough Council approves works to the former Angel Hotel

Published: Friday, 27 September 2019

Work to redevelop the site of the fire-damaged former Angel Hotel in Bridge Street can now start after Northampton Borough Council approved wide-ranging work on the building.

A planning application was submitted in 2017 by the Old Northampton Group to revamp the site – part of which most recently operated as the Fat Cat bar and still incorporates the Balloon Bar – into an upmarket hotel.

Because the proposal involved demolition of the whole Grade II listed building except the Bridge Street façade, extensive survey work and a viability study were required to inform how much of the historic fabric could be retained.

Historic England funded the Council to commission the study and survey work which concluded that, while there was potential to repair the building as part of a new development, the cost was such that it would not be financially viable in the foreseeable market conditions.

Councillor James Hill, Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “We’ve worked with expert advisors and are satisfied that keeping the front elevation and approving a new sensitively-designed, four-star hotel will be in the best interests of the town.

“While it will be a shame to see most of what remains of the historic coaching inn demolished, that must be balanced against the investment this development will bring, creating jobs and adding to the range of town centre hotels on offer to visitors.

“It has taken a great deal of time and negotiation to reach this point and I would like to thank everyone involved for their patience and hard work to reach a favourable conclusion.”

Dr Dale Dishon, Principal Adviser for Historic England, said: “The study we funded revealed that while there may be potential in theory to repair and refurbish the listed building, sadly the costs are so high that this prospect is unrealistic.

“A new hotel development on this site, keeping the historic front to Bridge Street, means that a site that is currently an eyesore in the heart of Northampton will be regenerated. There has been an Angel hotel or inn on this site for 500 years, and it would be great to see that tradition continued.”

The Old Northampton Group plans to start work on the £10 million project in the next six months with completion expected toward the end of 2021.

Its plan is to use local contractors to create a 60-bed Mercure hotel with a bar and restaurant and a ‘rooftop sky bar’, employing around 60 people.

Sunny Kooner of the Old Northampton Group said: “We’re very excited to finally get this planning permission and appreciate everyone’s hard work to get to where we are today.

“Now the hard work starts to get the project tender out and the work under way.”