Five-storey hotel will be built opposite city’s 16th-century Guildhall
Sheppard Robson has been given the green light for a mixed-use hotel development in Lincoln’s historic city centre.
Plans for the 150-room, four-star hotel on Lincoln High Street, which will be built for German-based real estate investment manager Patrizia, were first unveiled in November last year.
Lincoln council approved the scheme which will be directly opposite its own main office in the city’s grade I-listed 16th-century Guildhall.
An existing department store currently occupied by House of Fraser will be flattened and replaced by three new-build blocks ranging from two to five storeys in height.
The plans include a restaurant, bar and event spaces framing a new public courtyard, and 985sq m of retail space.
Dan Burr, partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “The project offered the opportunity to make a positive architectural statement on a key site in Lincoln’s high street as it rises towards the cathedral.”
St Peter’s Passage, a narrow alley believed to have existed since medieval times which was closed by the council last year after it was taken over by drug users, will also be reopened and restored as part of the scheme.
Historic England had raised an objection in pre-application talks with the council because of the demolition of the department store in a conservation area, but planning officers were won over by the “high quality” of the development.
The council’s principal planning officer Julie Mason said the hotel will “sit well within the historic context” of the city centre.
She added: “It was acknowledged that the demolition would cause harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area but this harm was outweighed by the vast public benefits the mixed-use scheme would bring.”
The redevelopment is a further sign of the changing nature of the UK high street, with many retail outlets being replaced by experience-based offerings.
Sheppard Robson partner Claire Haywood said: “We are living in a time when our cities, and how we design and inhabit them, is under intense scrutiny.”
She added: “We are pleased that this project engages with many pertinent themes: the future of shopping and how large retail sites can be rethought for a changing world; the value of high-quality public spaces to bring people together while not feeling confined; and, with the possibility of behavioural change on the horizon, the importance of flexible, mixed-use development that can adapt to changes ahead.”
House of Fraser announced plans to close more than half of its 59 UK stores in 2018 as the 171-year-old chain buckled under the combined strains of a weaker pound and competition from online shopping.
Several retailers have announced redundancies and store closures this week.
Last week Intu, which owns some of Britain’s biggest shopping centres, announced it was going into administration with debts of £5bn.