Hopes high top firm will buy ‘Great Northern’ site

Colin Hill, pictured in 2003. Photo: Paul Franks/Peterborough Telegraph
Colin Hill, pictured in 2003. Photo: Paul Franks/Peterborough Telegraph
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Businessman Colin Hill was outlining why he has just resubmitted plans for a £30 million expansion of the historic Great Northern Hotel in Station Approach to Peterborough City Council.

He said: “We’re seeking to extend the life of the planning permission for the development.”

An image shows how the development of the Great Northern Hotel might appear.

An image shows how the development of the Great Northern Hotel might appear.

The current permission expires at the end of 2017 but a new approval would take the permission into 2020 at the latest.

Mr Hill, who is spokesman for Switzerland-based Boddleson SA, which bought the hotel five years ago, said: “The economy of Peterborough is changing.

“The city is on the up and there is a lot more interest in Peterborough by companies outside the city.

“A lot of major companies are taking a new look at Peterborough.”

He added: “But this is the best site in the city.”

A major revamp of the railway station was recently completed and Waitrose opened a new store nearby just before Christmas.

Work is also going on to make the nearby Bourges Boulevard more pedestrian friendly, improving the area’s links to the city centre.

Mr Hill said “I feel it is just a matter of time before a major company from London does the sums and decides it can pay less for offices in Peterborough and still be within a hour of London by train.

“I want to be sure that everything is in place if an offer is made for the site.

“Since buying the hotel, I have received about 100 calls from people expressing a possible interest in the site.”

The plans approved by the council involve a seven storey extension to the 19th century hotel with the creation of ground floor cafes, substantial office accommodation and top floor apartments.

It will also involve doubling the number of rooms at the hotel and the creation of a new services area.

Greg Greasley, director for architects, London-based Assael Architecture Ltd, said: “This will be a mixed-use scheme. The intention is to extend the existing hotel, provide a new public space/square as a new arrival point to the city, and a new office building of 120,000 sq ft with some retail and cafes at the ground floor with some residential units on the top floor.

The proposals were unveiled in January 2012 and came in the wake of a difficult couple of years for the 159-year-old hotel.

In 2009, the hotel was plunged into crisis after its then owner, Mistvalley Ltd, run by Peterborough businessman Peter Boizot, was put into administration.

By September the hotel was back in business after it was bought by Boddleson SA.

The premises were closed for three months while a £3 million revamp took place.

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