RECONFIGURATION work of a Bournemouth hotel to include more than 30 new bedrooms has been met with “resistance”. 

Bosses of the Norfolk Royale Hotel in Richmond Hill have scaled back plans to build 31 new bedrooms, a redesigned entertainment space and a larger restaurant. 

Leisureplex Hotels, the firm that bought the four-star town centre hotel last April, has instead compromised with eight new bedrooms and a redesigned entertainment space. 

BCP Council’s planning department has said the authority took issue with the 31 new bedrooms because some of the “elements would have caused significant harm to the significance of the listed building”. 

Bournemouth Echo: Norfolk Royale Hotel in Richmond HillNorfolk Royale Hotel in Richmond Hill (Image: PR)

Council case officer Kalina Kuteva said: “The remaining aspects of the scheme have been revised to ensure they will preserve the special architectural and historic interest of the building while also meeting current business requirements that will help retain the building in its historical use as a hotel.” 

David Howard, operations director of Leisureplex Hotels, said he had hoped work would begin on the Grade II listed building in January.

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But now his company is waiting for full planning permission to be given for the £1.2m investment and once achieved, work will begin “as soon as possible”. 

He said: “Unfortunately our plans were met with resistance and we have had to scale back what was acceptable under listed buildings consent.  

“So rather than 31 new bedrooms, a redesigned entertainment space and a larger restaurant, we have accepted 8 bedrooms and a redesigned entertainment space. 

“We achieved Listed Buildings Consent [on April 3] but as six of the eight new bedrooms are going where historically there was a casino we still need to obtain full planning permission.  

“We do still want to do the work to add an extra 23 bedrooms (31-8) and a larger restaurant so we will return with an amended application in the hope that we can get approval.” 

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The Norfolk, which is a listed building, has 95 en suite bedrooms, a hotel lounge and club bar and a wide range of conference rooms, function rooms and banqueting suites. 

It is one of Bournemouth's most historic buildings and was built between 1840 and 1850. 

The hotel started life as two separate villas, one of which was a summer retreat for the 14th Duke of Norfolk, Henry Granville Fitzalan-Howard. 

In 1870, the villas became one residence. It was renamed Stewart's Hotel before bearing its former occupant's name in 1910. 

It remained as the Norfolk Hotel until 1988 when it was enlarged to the Norfolk Royale. 

In November 1992, Price Waterhouse offered the hotel for sale at £4m. Just two years later it was on the market for £6m.