Find out why Covid-19 has dashed boutique hotel plans for Peterborough’s Whitworth Mill

Ambitious plans to use Peterborough’s historic Whitworth Mill as a boutique hotel look to have been dashed by the Covid pandemic.

By Paul Grinnell
Friday, 10th July 2020, 5:50 am
Whitworth Mill, in East Station Road, Peterborough, in September 2009.
Whitworth Mill, in East Station Road, Peterborough, in September 2009.

Peterborough City Council has revealed it has decided to put the 19th century mill and surrounding land back on the market after rejecting a request from the successful bidder to lower the price.

The local authority says the firm, which had won a bidding battle for its boutique hotel, offices, arts space and restaurants plan for the 19th century mill and surrounding 1,41 acre, wanted a new price to reflect the increased risk to the project from the coronavirus pandemic.

A council spokesperson, said: “The preferred bidder of Whitworth Mill has reviewed their investment priorities in the light of Covid-19 and its potential impact on their plans for the building, which included a boutique hotel and restaurant and café type uses.

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Whitworth Mill at Fletton Quays

“They concluded that the risks in these sectors had significantly increased as a result of Covid-19 and therefore sought to reduce their offer.

“This was regarded as unacceptable to the council and unfair to other interested parties so the decision has been taken to re-market the property.”

The site, which sits on the banks of the River Nene, had been up for sale since October 2019.

The developer had beaten off offers from three other companies to secure the council-owned site, which is the last plot to be developed at Fletton Quays, which has waited 30 years for the completion of regeneration plans.

The successful bidder had hoped to use the upper storeys of the four storey mill for a boutique hotel with the lower and ground floors used for offices and an arts and performing space.

It proposed to build a neighbouring four storey block for part use as a hotel with restaurants and food court space.

The council’s approval for the bid came just days after the UK had gone into lockdown as the Covid outbreak took hold forcing hotels, restaurants, bars and other non-essential retailers to shut.