Overhaul of landmark hotel brings jobs boost

The  Queen's Head Hotel in Morpeth.
The Queen's Head Hotel in Morpeth.

The £5million redevelopment of a landmark Morpeth hotel has been given the green light, bringing with it the prospect of 100 new jobs.

The overhaul of the Queen’s Head Hotel, a former coaching inn which dates back to 1656, was unanimously approved this week, with a number of councillors welcoming the project.

Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee heard that input from the local authority’s planning officers had led to the proposed building being reduced from five storeys to four, bringing the number of bedrooms down from 43 to 41.

Applicant Crafted Projects – the leisure division of Ladhar Group – will retain the Bridge Street facade as well as the Queen’s Head Hotel lettering.

The first phase would be the introduction of the company’s Pleased To Meet You brand into the ground floor. This was developed in Newcastle as a gin, craft beer and cocktail bar.

The second phase would lead to the development of a 41-bedroom boutique hotel on the upper floors, a function room for weddings and other events, and a spa.

Following the reduction in scale, one of the sole issues was parking, as the site itself will only have 12 spaces.

Coun Jeff Reid said: “We have got to welcome this. It’s £5million and 100 jobs put into Morpeth and it’s not Arch money, it’s proper money.”

Coun Trevor Thorne added: “I think it’s brilliant for Morpeth.”

Coun Dougie Watkin said: “It’s in the commercial interest of the company running it to sort out the parking.”