‘I have no answer to when it will be ready’ – Banyers Hotel delays rumble on in Royston

Martin Jackson

Martin Jackson - Credit: Archant

The owner of a landmark Royston hotel where refurbishment work has been continuing for almost 18 months has spoken of his frustration about delays caused to the project.

Martin Jackson, managing director of Beechdale Homes, wants adjustments to the agreed blueprints for The Banyers Hotel to be given the go ahead, but claims that planners at North Herts District Council have been slow in responding.

The hotel in Melbourn Street was originally set to reopen in the spring, but Martin said he will be lucky if it is back in business by the autumn.

An agreement has not yet been reached on issues for which the company needs permission in order to move forward with the project. Only minor work can be carried out in the meantime.

Changes include the introduction of three garden rooms and the removal of a wall to link the orangery extension to the function room.

Martin has submitted an application to introduce six panelled doors to allow people to pass between the rooms.

This application is currently under consultation, and a decision date has not yet been set. It could be approved or rejected anytime between now and July 15 – when the application expires.

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A separate application to make alterations to a staircase and entrance lobby was put forward on April 17 and granted on Monday.

Martin said: “We want to restore The Banyers as a wedding venue. Linking the two together is fundamental to provide seating for about the 100 people required for most wedding receptions.

“Despite months of dialogue, approval does not exist in any shape or form to link the orangery to the function room.”

The request to introduce three garden rooms was formally received on April 17 and will be decided at a planning meeting on June 25.

The garden rooms would increase room numbers by almost 30 per cent.

Martin said he is inundated with requests for bookings for the hotel, but has to turn them down as he has no answers on when the building will be ready.

He said: “It has been a year since we purchased the sad looking and boarded-up building that was once the pride of Royston.

“It would be nice for somebody in authority at the council to take a pragmatic view and work with us to allow the hotel to be finished, and answer all the questions we are getting regarding an opening date.”

A spokeswoman for the district council said normal process for planning applications is being followed.