Developers are set to submit plans for a £10 million hotel on the site of a fire-ravaged late bar in the centre of Northampton.
Back in August Old Northampton Group (ONG) gave the Chronicle & Echo an exclusive glimpse of its most ambitious project yet - a bid to turn around one of the town centre’s most prominent eyesores.
Five years after a blaze destroyed the Fat Cat Cafe bar in Bridge Street, the company, which owns four other venues across town, now wants to restore the site as the Angel Hotel.
The early proposals, drawn up by the same architects that renovated the town’s Guildhall, Stimpson Walton Bond, show the three-storey hotel would have 84 beds with the current courtyard area converted into glass-fronted shops.
And a spokesman for the Old Northampton Group has confirmed the business is on the verge of submitting a planning application to Northampton Borough Council, "within the next fortnight".
The spokesman is now calling on members of the public to comment on the application through the council's online planning portal.
"We want to know what people think about our plans," he said.
Back in August, the company spokesman said it was ONG’s most ambitious project yet.
“We won’t see much change out of £10 million, let’s put it that way,” he said.
The new hotel will require a complete demolition of the former Fat cat site, which has been covered in scaffolding since 2012.
“Bridge Street is an eyesore in the town centre,” said the spokesman.
“We get a lot of negative feedback about it.
“This could be seen as a key project the town.
“The hotel is a step towards to opening Bridge Street up to a daytime economy as well as a nighttime economy.”
Records show a hotel may have existed on site of the former Fat Cat as early as 1585. It was rebuilt in 1746 with various additions being made over the years.
If the plans are approved, construction of the new hotel could commence in “early 2018”.
But a document compiled by architects Stimpson Walton Bond shows that the fire and water damage from the 2012 blaze was so severe “significant elements” have been recommended for demolition.
The Fat Cat chain had hoped to reopen the site within a year of the devastating fire, which was believed to have been caused by accident during roofing works.
Managing director Matt Saunders said at the time he was expecting to open again “within eight to nine months” as the company was only halfway through a 20-year lease.
But in 2013 any hopes of a swift refurbishment were dashed when Fat Cat went into administration.