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Work begins on restoration of Grand Hotel’s historic shopfronts




Leicester's Grand Hotel is set for a major facelift that will help restore its historic street-level shopfronts and entrances to their former glory.


The Grade II listed building in Granby Street, in the city centre, is set to be repaired and restored as part of Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones.


As part of a major programme of improvements now underway, the shopfronts that line the Granby Street façade of the hotel will be reinstated as close to the building’s original design as possible, using sustainable hardwood and toughened glass.


Recessed doorways will be fitted with bespoke iron gates, and new signage will be introduced, in keeping with the building.


There will also be improvements made to the hotel’s entrance, with cleaning and repairs made to the oriel windows and balcony. Work to restore the existing canopy above the entrance is also planned.


Work is expected to take around five months to complete and will be supported as part of the city council’s successful bid for £1.5million towards a High Street Heritage Action Zone for the Granby Street and Church Gate conservation areas.


Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on climate, culture and the economy, said: “The restoration of the Grand Hotel’s historic street-level frontages is good news for Granby Street and the city centre.


“The Grand Hotel is a fine example of Leicester’s Victorian past and the city’s rich architectural heritage. It is a local landmark and has long been considered one of Leicester's most prestigious hotels.


With the support of Historic England, this investment will help to restore the building to its former glory, create a much more attractive street scene, and make the area feel safer and more welcoming to all.


“It will also build on recent work to improve routes along Granby Street and Belvoir Street, and will help further improve the look and feel of this important gateway into the city centre.


“It’s important that we continue to invest in our historic city centre shopping streets to support local businesses, boost the city’s economy and create a place where many more people want to live, work and visit.”


A grant of £700,000 has been awarded towards the cost of the restoration work, which is estimated to cost about £900,000.


The hotel owners will contribute £200,000 towards the project.


Andrew Pring, asset and investment director at Jupiter Hotels which owns The Grand Hotel, said:


“We are pleased to be working with both Historic England and Leicester City Council to restore the façade of the hotel on Granby Street close to the original design. This will be the first stage of further significant investment in the hotel, with plans to upgrade the internal areas of the hotel in 2024.”


High Street Heritage Action Zones are areas up and down the country which have been singled out by Historic England for funding support.


They encourage local councils, businesses, architects and contractors to work together to bid for funding which can be used to sympathetically restore historic buildings.


Louise Brennan, Regional Director for the Midlands at Historic England, said: “This restoration work will be a welcome step in the revitalising of this wonderful area of Leicester.


The Grand Hotel is a prestigious building, and we are looking forward to supporting the repair and refurbishment of its street-facing ground floor.


Hopefully, this will encourage more people, both tourists and local residents, to step inside to see its fantastic interior and become part of this historic building’s future.”


Work to restore the Grand Hotel will be led by Leicester-based Hickman & Smith Architects and carried out by specialist contractors Trinity. Gateley RJA are appointed as Quantity Surveyors. Earlier survey and design work was carried out by conservation experts Conception Architects.


David Hickman, director and architect at Hickman & Smith, said: “We’re excited to be working with a great team on this project and to help deliver the restoration of traditional features to the Grand Hotel shopfronts. As a local practice, the opportunity to contribute to the regeneration of the Granby Street Conservation Area is a very exciting prospect.


“This project offers a fantastic opportunity to make a long lasting and positive visual impact that will improve the character of the conservation area on this principal route into the city centre from Leicester Station, whilst raising awareness of the benefits of conservation.”

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