Work to start on converting Newport's Royal Victoria Hotel into flats
Newport's landmark Royal Victoria Hotel will be given a new lease of life after plans to convert it into flats got the green light.
Work on grade II building is expected to start straight away. It will become seven new homes under the plans, with the rear extension and two nearby cottages demolished.
The Victorian facade will be kept.
Full planning permission was given by Telford & Wrekin Council's planning committee earlier this week.
Developer Roger Brock is behind the project to save the rundown site, in St Mary's Street, which has been vacant since 2015.
Addressing councillors, agent Stuart Thomas, of Berrys, told councillors at the meeting held in Wellington, that Mr Brock was keen to begin the redevelopment and was holding talks with builders in the area.
"For the past four years Mr Brock has been trying to breathe life back into this important town centre site. The future of the hotel has been in doubt for a number of years when it closed in 2014. While it opened for a short period in 2015 it has subsequently remained closed and empty since.
"The trading history and future viability of the hotel has been carefully assessed by accountants who concludes that the hotel does not have a viable future. The development proposes a viable alternative use." for the hotel which will secure the future of this valuable historic building ensuring that it will make a continued and enhanced contribution to the character and appearance of the town," Mr Thomas said.
Town councillor Eric Carter told the committee that it was sad to lose a venue that once hosted weddings and community group meetings. He said: "I am aware of what happened to the Charlton Hotel, in Wellington, and I would not like to see that repeated here. We are pleased that the application has been submitted and that part of it will be for the affordable market, but we accept that there is no possibility of a retail unit in the ground floor."
Councillor Peter Scott also welcomed the scheme and added that efforts be made to organise bin collections without hindering traffic flow in the narrow street.
"Overall I support it and there is no need for a site visit," Councillor Scott said.
The scheme was changed following initial objections to the designs for the new apartments because there was a lack of affordable housing included.
Prices for the dwellings will range from £225,500 for a two-bedroom apartment to £650,000 for the 2,000 square foot penthouse, with a terrace garden.
The re-development of the hotel, which was built in the 19th century, will see about £100,000 of improvements made to parks, highways and education from the section 106 levy that is paid by the developer.