Royston hotel Banyers will soon be back in business

PUBLISHED: 12:07 25 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:18 25 February 2016

Martin Jackson, managing director of Beechdale Homes, in one of the bedrooms.

Martin Jackson, managing director of Beechdale Homes, in one of the bedrooms.

Archant

After major setbacks to refurbishment work at a landmark hotel in Royston, the managing director says that things are now going so well that they are looking to open this summer.

Martin Jackson, managing director of Beechdale Homes, in the ice house.Martin Jackson, managing director of Beechdale Homes, in the ice house.

The Banyers in Melbourn Street was bought by developers Beechdale Homes two years ago, but work was seriously delayed when three applications – one to link the new orangery to the function room, another to build new stairs and the third to introduce three garden rooms – were delayed by council planners.

Managing director Martin Jackson, who gave the Crow a tour of the building yesterday, said: “With the support and help of local councillors and business people, the battles with the planners have been won. The hotel is at the finishing stages. Most issues have been dealt with. There’s been an awful lot of work done, but mainly behind the scenes.”

Martin said there could have been a temptation to rush and open the hotel at an earlier date, but he wants to make sure everything is perfect.

All the main infrastructure work is complete, and it’s time to start painting the walls and putting in all the fixtures and fittings to turn it into a ‘vibrant, quirky’ hotel.

The 12 bedrooms, which should be finished in the next couple of months, will each be designed differently to give them a unique character – one has an exposed brick wall, and another has timber beams lining the walls.

Martin said: “You could choose one room, and it would be completely different from the last. It would have been easy to have done a ‘Premier Inn’ but we wanted to create something special and unique.”

The garden rooms – contemporary pods with metal roofs – will be built later on, depending on how things go at the hotel.

It was while work was going on digging the foundations for the orangery that the icehouse, which could date back to the 17th century, was discovered underground.

Stairs into the icehouse have since been built, and the developers are hoping to make a feature out of it – all sorts of ideas have been bandied about, from putting in a hot tub and fairy lights, to making it an intimate space for people to hang out...or even get married.

The director says he has ‘fallen in love with the building’, and plans to have a special opening, to be confirmed at a later date.

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