Historic hotel in line for revamp
PLANS to retain one of the town’s most historical hotels have been submitted to the council.
An application to re-open the Bell Hotel, in Old Town, has been put forward, which would see it remain as a hotel.
Initially, the owners wanted to turn the building into shops and apartments but last month those proposals were dropped due to delays in the planning process.
If successful, the new application will see the hotel modernised, with the only significant alteration being a single storey extension at the back.
This extra space will house a gym to serve members of the public as well as hotel guests.
The plans submitted show that the three-storey building will contain 25 bedrooms. The downstairs bar will remain though it is not yet known what form it will take.
There will be some internal work to develop the reception and staff areas and the external window frames are to be replaced with timber matching the existing ones.
Bell Arcade Ltd, run by John Slattery and Chris O’Connell, owns the building and the pair have been responsible for drawing up the new plans.
John said: “We are really pleased with the plans put forward. It has been a long time in the making, so we are now at the stage where we want to see something tangible happen. We are still not sure exactly what form the bar area will take but it will be open to the public and will serve both food and alcohol.”
The pub and hotel in High Street – one of Swindon’s oldest surviving inns – was to be transformed into an arcade of independent shops and business-class lodgings in a £500,000 scheme.
But the plan was dropped in September with the owners settling for keeping the property in its current form.
It has had a troubled recent history and it is hoped the move will give it a new lease of life.
The venue closed in 2011 for a year before opening last November after a major refurbishment. However, it closed just three months later and has yet to re-open.
John said: “We have already done some work on the top two floors and when people see it they will realise it has been done to a very high standard.
“When the work is complete it will be in a far better condition than it was before.”
If the plan gets approved it is thought the work will take six months to complete, and it is hoped the Bell will open next summer.
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