One of Sheffield’s most historic hotels is being lined up for a revamp costing around £3.5m.
Plans have been drawn up to create a spa, another function suite and 18 extra bedrooms at Whitley Hall Hotel, a grade II* listed building in Elliott Lane, Grenoside.
Owner David Broadbent said it would be a “pretty hefty investment” in the hotel and the area, with 20 jobs to add to the existing 70.
He is awaiting a formal council response to the proposed redevelopment, which, in particular, aims to make the hotel more attractive to leisure visitors.
The hotel market was changing, with an increasing demand for leisure, said Mr Broadbent. “We get a lot of people who stay one night and we’d like to increase that, and we need the leisure facilities.”
He added: “We are custodians of a beautiful grade II* listed building and we want to ensure its future.”
Whitley Hall dates from the 1580s. It was used as a boarding school between 1790 and 1840 before returning to a private residence. It was the home of the Bingley family until 1939 when it was taken over by army officers. The hall was converted to a restaurant in 1969 and a hotel in the 70s, in the hands of the Fearn family.
Mr Broadbent took it over ten years ago, building up the business in conferences, weddings and other functions. In 1995, Whitley Hall, which has 32 bedrooms, became the first location in South Yorkshire to be licensed for civil wedding ceremonies.
The best part of four years has been spent talking to council conservation officers and conservation agency English Heritage about the proposed changes. Local councillors and neighbours have been briefed.
The extension is due to go on the car park, with an overflow car park in a more concealed area due to become the main car park. No landscaping would be affected.
Mr Broadbent said the proposed redevelopment had been designed to be as sympathetic as possible to the building and its wooded surroundings.
There are two wedding function suites at present.
Architects Farrar Bamforth Associates, of Huddersfield, are telling the council that the extension is being planned after the number of weddings and other function has “greatly increased”.
“Many luxury hotels have improved on the hotel guest experience by providing spa facilities,” they say, and the extra facilities would also encourage visitors to stay longer and help Sheffield tourism.
Planning officers are considering the details.