Listed fire-ravaged wall is causing delays to multi-million pound Northampton hotel scheme

The company hoping to build a hotel on the site of the former Fat Cats bar in Northampton are urging people to write in their letters of support for the scheme.
The company hoping to build a hotel on the site of the former Fat Cats bar in Northampton are urging people to write in their letters of support for the scheme.

The Northampton company hoping to open a 60-bed hotel on the site of a fire-wrecked Bridge Street bar are urging people to write in favour of the plans - still being deliberated over eight months after they were submitted.

The moves to turn the former Fat Cat bar into the £10 million Angel Hotel are facing a hold-up largely because of a debate over the listed parts of the site.

The Old Northampton Group want to spend 10 million on the renovation.

The Old Northampton Group want to spend 10 million on the renovation.

The late bar was ravaged by fire in 2012, but conservation body Historic England wants to see parts of the original building retained, even though they are in a derelict state and need supporting by scaffolding.

Developers Old Northampton Group, have now agreed to keep the Bridge Street facade in place at extra cost and have submitted revised plans.

But a crumbling wall on the Angel Street side of the building, they say, will be too costly to retain and would detract from the visual appeal of the new hotel.

Sunny Kooner of the Old Northampton Group is urging those in favour of the scheme to tell the council about it through its planning portal because he fears the current impasse is taking too long to resolve and could even deter investors.

"Everyone is for this scheme - there is not one single person saying to me we shouldn't do this," he said.

"We are going to use local builders, create local jobs.

"There is nothing left of that building worth keeping at all - but we are at the stage now that if we don't do anything about this, it will become the next St Edmunds."

A group of councillors at the borough council are now considering whether to 'call in' the planning application, so it has to get heard at a forthcoming planning committee meeting.

A spokesperson for Northampton Borough Council said: “We are continuing to work with the applicants to determine the planning application as soon as possible.”

Plans for the ground floor of the hotel show space for two restaurants, one bar, and two retail spaces. There is a further area marked as a possible wine bar or extra retail outlet.

It is understood a cafe or coffee shop managed by a local firm could occupy one of the two empty retail spaces.

A gym, spa, sauna and steam room will be built on the second floor, while the third floor will house a wine bar.

To comment on the application, head to the council website here.