Work is now well under way to transform the Queen’s Head in Morpeth into a bar, restaurant, tearoom and boutique hotel.
Owners Crafted Projects revised the plans following comments by residents in an attempt to retain as many of the features of the building as possible in the Morpeth Town Conservation Area.
Demolition, remedial and restoration work is being carried out, with plans to now open the first phase – Pleased to Meet You – by Easter 2019 and the hotel element by early 2020.
Once complete, the scheme will support 15 full-time and 35 part-time jobs and also bring back to life one of the town’s most prominent historic buildings.
Barry Ladhar, managing director of Crafted Projects, said: “We are delighted to be finally making progress, having carefully worked on revisions to the scheme to ensure the style and character of the building is in keeping with its rich history.
“The first phase will be our award-winning gin, draft ale and cocktail bar Pleased to Meet You and then a 25-bed boutique hotel and an event room catering for things like weddings and conferences for 300 guests.”
The former coaching inn on Bridge Street, which dates back to 1656, had been boarded up since 2013.
Pleased to Meet You in Newcastle has won several industry awards and accolades since it opened in 2013 and Mr Ladhar is confident the brand will continue its impressive growth and success when it opens in Morpeth.
“We appreciate the scheme is taking longer than anticipated, but we are making good progress,” he added.
“We thank residents for their patience and the overwhelming positive comments we have received about the development to bring this much-loved building back into use.
“We are playing our role in the regeneration of Morpeth and Pleased to Meet You, as well as what will be a top-quality hotel, can help the town centre to thrive.”
Coun Richard Wearmouth, cabinet member for economic development at Northumberland County Council, said: “It’s great to see this scheme in the centre of Morpeth progressing.
“Throughout our public consultations on the town’s masterplan, there’s always been a wish for prime sites in Morpeth to be put to good use.
“This is a sympathetic restoration of a key building, which will also bring up to 50 new jobs to the area.”