An exciting new future for one of Bolton town centre’s most remarkable buildings has taken a major step forward, following the submission of a planning application to convert the former Bolton Magistrates’ Court into a boutique hotel, along with a separate serviced apartments facility.
Under the proposals, the former courts, which form part of the Le Mans Crescent building, will be sensitively converted into an 87-bedroom hotel which will create around 100 new jobs in the town. The hotel will be operated by Hospitality Associates on behalf of an internationally famous hotel brand.
The development is being brought forward by Beechlane Investments which is also behind the £multi-million mixed-use Trinity Gateway development also in Bolton town centre.
Le Mans Crescent was built between 1932 and 1939 as civic offices for the council. As well as the magistrates’ court the whole crescent also housed the former police station for the town and council offices, and currently includes Bolton Museum, Art Gallery, Central Library and Aquarium.
The Grade II classical crescent building was built as part of a scheme which also saw the neighbouring town hall doubled in size. The first session of the new courts was held on 29 October 1934.
The building’s original architect, Bolton-based Bradshaw Gass & Hope, is playing a key role in the current project team, working as heritage consultant.
The court’s listed façade will remain untouched, while some internal areas are to undergo a sensitive redesign process. This will maximise the impact of the conserved areas and enable the building to flourish, securing it for the next generation.
The plans for the new hotel in the heart of the town centre and its Civic Quarter will completely transform the four-storey building, providing it with a new purpose and a major boost to the town’s leisure economy.
The existing facilities in the rest of the Le Mans Crescent building including, Bolton Museum, Art Gallery, Central Library and Aquarium, will remain.
The developer is also looking to use local businesses to deliver the work and will request that appointed contractors prioritise training and employment opportunities for the people of Bolton.
Alec Colbeck, development director at Beechlane Investments, said: “Le Mans Crescent is a wonderfully atmospheric location full of grace and elegance which people are often surprised about when they first visit.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity and responsibility to lead this sensitive redevelopment which will bring a new dynamic to the town centre and put the building to a new, appropriate use.
“We can’t wait to get on and deliver this project as part of our commitment to realising a new, brighter future for Bolton town centre.”
Kevin Haygarth, co-founder of Hospitality Associates, added: “The building displays all of the grandeur you would want from a hotel operator’s perspective. We are determined to bring in a hotel brand which reflects that splendour and quality.
“We are close to agreeing an operating brand which is contemporary without being stuffy and will have significant appeal to attract people from a wide catchment area.
“The hotel will be a high-quality offering and we’ll be able to position ourselves within the local and regional marketplace to offer our guests a hotel of character for them to explore.
“We believe this development will turn many heads and the hotel will become a destination in its own right.”
As part of the agreement, Hospitality Associates will implement a major training and apprenticeship programme creating new opportunities for young people seeking a career in the sector.
Beechlane Investments Ltd was advised on the transaction by the specialist hotels and resorts consulting team at global real estate advisors Colliers International. Colliers secured and helped to negotiate the hotel management agreement with Hospitality Associates and the proposed franchise agreement with a well-known international hotel brand.
Marc Finney, head of hotels and resorts consulting at Colliers, said: “This announcement signals a step change for accommodation supply in Bolton and a significant addition to the quality end of the market. Bolton is an exciting place to be right now and the arrival of the hotel to the town will help to underline this.”
The planning application will be considered in the coming weeks by Bolton Council’s planning committee and, should permission be granted, conversion works could begin next year.
Remodelling of the building’s internal spaces will be led by architects 3DReid with Bradshaw Gass & Hope – the Bolton based architecture practice which designed the building originally – providing heritage consultancy and P4 Planning Ltd is acting as planning consultant.