Cornwall Council has this week approved the sale of Old County Hall to St Michael’s Hotel & Spa owner Nigel Carpenter. The sale is subject to a satisfactory planning consent being obtained.Mr Carpenter plans to retain the historic Old County Hall building and restore the distinctive original features of the building, whilst adding luxury and style to create a new four star deluxe flagship spa hotel for Truro and the county.
Much of the ground floor of the building, which will be called The Truro Spa Hotel, is to become a destination spa with eight treatment rooms, a beauty salon, a large hydrotherapy pool with relaxation areas, steam rooms, saunas and a fitness suite, as well as a stylish patisserie and café.
The beautiful old debating chamber will become an 80-seater brasserie with bar and lounges nearby. There will also be extensive meeting, conference and function facilities with new gardens and landscaping .
The Truro Spa Hotel will include approximately 40 bedrooms, including some spectacular suites. The Silcock Suite, named after the building’s architect, will feature lavish lounge space and gaze out across the cathedral and the whole of Truro. There will also be 20 new spacious long stay suites which will be ideal for business people making extended stays or re-locating to the area. There will be car parking for over 60 cars.
The new hotel and spa will create around 100 new jobs for the city and be a significant boost for the local economy. St Michael’s Hotel & Spa uses local suppliers wherever possible and The Truro Spa Hotel will follow the same route. The four star St Michael’s Hotel & Spa was totally refurbished over ten years at a cost of £4.5 million and has won Cornwall Tourism Awards every year for the past five years including “Winner of Winners / Best Hotel of the Year” in 2009.
Owner Nigel Carpenter, who conceived The Truro Spa Hotel, said: “I am delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to convert this wonderful, historic building into a flagship hotel for Truro. It will provide a much needed facility for the city which will help fuel the growth of our capital city. Its location encourages a low carbon footprint with visitors being able to arrive at the main train station, just 200 metres away.
The conversion of Old County Hall to The Truro Spa Hotel will create a public facility, which will allow everyone to enjoy the architectural beauty of such an historic building. It will also ensure the building’s conservation for the future. We hope it will become the hub of the city and a meeting place for all.”
Malcolm Bell, Head of Visit Cornwall, said: “The proposed development would be transformational for Truro by providing a signature hotel and focus which has been sadly missing in Truro. Truro has often been seen as a “mini Bath” due to its historic city centre and range of shops and eateries, but unfortunately, we have not had the equivalent of The Royal Bath Hotel to entertain and accommodate high end visitors and key visiting business people, let alone potential investors to Cornwall.”
Neil Scott, BID Manager for Truro added: “The proposed development would be an excellent addition to the ‘Truro mix’, serving as a catalyst for developing the city into a more complete destination for a broad range of potential visitors and clients.”
Old County Hall was originally designed in 1890 by TB Silcock for the County Council and is a grand, Grade II listed building, constructed of local materials. The office space, layout and environment is no longer suited for a modern office environment.
One of Cornwall’s leading architectural practices, Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole, has worked with Nigel Carpenter on the development of the scheme. The practice has designed many iconic buildings for Cornwall and undertaken many conversions of landmark historic buildings. Phil Cole, Partner, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting development.”
The sale of Old County Hall was promoted via a nationally advertised public tender competition. Peter Marsh, Cornwall Council’s Head of Property, commented: “The scheme proposed by St Michael’s Hotel & Spa is very exciting for the future of Truro. We are delighted that the building will come into wider public usage and help fuel growth for the city. It is gratifying that, after a national competition, the building is being awarded to a local company experienced in developing and running high end hotels.”
The Truro Spa Hotel is expected to open its doors in 2014, after the building’s current occupants are re-located to more modern facilities.