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Go-ahead for £10m revamp of George Hotel in Colchester High Street

PUBLISHED: 16:21 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:21 08 December 2017

The George Hotel in Colchester High Street. Picture: FLYING TRADE GROUP

The George Hotel in Colchester High Street. Picture: FLYING TRADE GROUP

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A £10million revamp of an “iconic” Colchester building has been given the green light by planners, paving the way for 40 new jobs.

Artist's impression of the Oyster Bar at the revamped George Hotel in Colchester. Picture: FLYING TRADE GROUPArtist's impression of the Oyster Bar at the revamped George Hotel in Colchester. Picture: FLYING TRADE GROUP

The Grade II*-listed George Hotel, in the High Street, has got the go-ahead from Colchester Borough Council for a complete refurbishment and expansion.

As well as overhauling the existing 47-bedroom hotel, St Nicholas House – across the road from The George – will become a 44-bedroom extension to the hotel.

Work is due to start next year now planning permission has been granted.

St Nicholas House – home to the Sweatshop and Entertainer Toy Shop, both of which will remain – will be transformed first, and then the rooms used there while The George renovation is carried out.

Artist's impression of the lounge at the revamped George Hotel in Colchester. Picture: FLYING TRADE GROUPArtist's impression of the lounge at the revamped George Hotel in Colchester. Picture: FLYING TRADE GROUP

The 40 new jobs includes both building roles, and hospitality vacancies.

Historical and archaeological surveys will be carried out at The George, which has woodwork and beams dating back more than 700 years.

As part of the plans, a Roman road which runs beneath the hotel will be exposed for public viewing

Suki Dulai, chief executive of Flying Trade which owns the hotel, said: “We have to ensure that whilst we bring the hotel back up-to-date with modern facilities, that we don’t lose the historical atmosphere of the building.

Suki Dulai, chief executive of Flying Trade. Picture: COLIN JOLLIFFESuki Dulai, chief executive of Flying Trade. Picture: COLIN JOLLIFFE

“Our aim is to keep the charm and ambience of the hotel, extending and offering consistent standards, good food and accommodation.

“We continue to invest heavily in Colchester with The George Project along with St Nicholas House, Claudius Gateway and One Castle Park, with an emphasis on making the most of the town’s rich history. We aim to open up the cellar of The George and emulate the One Castle Park project by exposing the remains of a Roman road which runs beneath it.

“We want to expose the history within The George, so customers can feel and appreciate the warmth and depth of its past, while also enjoying the comforts and convenience of modern life, from WiFi to cappuccino.”

Flying Trade recently built six luxury apartments at One Castle Park with the Claudius Gateway Museum in the coffee shop below, which shows some of the Roman Temple of Claudius remains.

Tim Young, Colchester borough councillor for business and culture, said: “The George is an iconic hotel and for Suki Dulai to spent that amount of money is a real vote of confidence from him in Colchester and our town centre.

“We are delighted he is putting that investment into the town centre. Colchester is ambitious and that is why we are seeing more and more investment in it.

“In Colchester’s vibrant and welcoming town centre we have had new hotels, Curzon cinema is opening up, last year’s £35m investment from Fenwick in its store and we have the Grayson Perry exhibition at firstsite – there are some really good things happening here.

“I was in town earlier and it’s really buzzing. Colchester is definitely on the up and the place to be.”

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