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Owners of Falstaff Hotel in Canterbury want to add 21 new rooms

The owners of a historic hotel in the heart of Canterbury want to carry out a major expansion to secure four-star status.

Ambitious plans for the 16th century Falstaff Hotel in St Dunstan’s Street have been submitted, revealing proposals to add 21 new rooms to the 50 already offered.

The 16th century Falstaff Hotel in Canterbury
The 16th century Falstaff Hotel in Canterbury

But just three would be in the Grade II-listed building itself, with its attic space transformed into en-suite accommodation.

The rest of the renovations would take place in two buildings behind the hotel.

A 19th century warehouse previously converted into accommodation – known as The Woodmill – would be expanded further to offer 10 more rooms over three storeys.

The final eight rooms would be built on the site of a neighbouring disused industrial store, which would undergo a conversion with a two-storey extension.

Near-identical proposals were given the green light in 2016 and 2018 but the planning and listed building consents have since expired.

Buildings to the rear of the main Falstaff Hotel
Buildings to the rear of the main Falstaff Hotel

The hotel’s owner, Westgate Towers Ltd, bought the site in 2010 and in 2015 carried out extensive works to remodel the public bar and seating area fronting St Dunstan’s Street.

It hopes the expansion will help continue the regeneration of the St Dunstan’s area.

Director Alex Clarke said: “Our strategy generally is to try to upgrade the hotel to a higher standard, to match the city’s strategy of attracting higher value and higher quality tourism, which is essential to the health of the tourism sector going forward.

“Our future success is very much linked to the success of Canterbury and the surrounding areas as a tourism destination.

“We want to help the city get back on track after a challenging few years.”

A plan of what the storage area at the Falstaff Hotel could become
A plan of what the storage area at the Falstaff Hotel could become

It is hoped the expansion will create 10 new part-time jobs.

Westgate Towers Ltd is hoping to emulate an award-winning refurbishment it carried out at a 15th century hotel it owns in East Sussex.

The project at The George in Rye earned the hotel four-star status and two conservation awards in 2007.

The venue was destroyed by fire in summer of 2019 but is set to relaunch this May.

Work to renovate the damaged hotel meant the expansion of the Falstaff was put on hold, leading to the planning consents expiring.

The Falstaff itself is Grade II-listed but the two buildings at the back are not. They all sit in a conservation area.

Last year conservationists criticised a new ‘chocolate brown’ paint coat on the frontage of the Falstaff.

They claimed it was unsympathetic to the property, which had been historically painted white or cream.

The latest proposals will be decided by the city council at a date yet to be set.

If approved, it’s hoped the work could start early next year and be complete by late summer.

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