Top Preston hotel unveils plans to double in size
One of Preston's top hotels has unveiled plans to double in size in a bid to attract more weddings and corporate events.
The four-star Barton Manor (formerly Barton Grange) wants to build an extension, adding up to 50 new rooms, on the site of its former garden centre.
The hotel currently has 51 rooms and the owners say that is limiting its ability to compete for bigger functions and conferences "as our current (room) inventory does not support the market demand."
Barton Grange, which was originally a local mill owner's country mansion and later the home of MP Levi Collinson, became a six-bed hotel in 1951 and grew to become one of the most prestigious venues in the area.
The North West's first-ever garden centre was opened adjacent to the car park in 1963. It moved to a huge new purpose-built site further up the A6 in 2008, vacating the land where the new extension will be built.
The hotel changed its name to Barton Manor last year after it joined the Best Western Signature brand and has now embarked on an ambitious plan to establish the hotel as "the luxurious cultural centre of choice for leisure and corporate events in the region."
The scheme will see the construction of four cubes - one to provide a new entrance to the hotel and the other three to contain up to 50 rooms.
Architects at the Constructive Thinking Studio in Liverpool say the project is "undoubtedly ambitious and will be pivotal in securing the successful future operation of the hotel."
The hotel says in a planning statement to city council: "We are currently losing business due to a lack of bed stock to support the larger conferences and events that take place within Preston."
Since joining the Best Western Signature brand the hotel says it has already seen a healthy pick-up on enquiries and business on the books.
"We are, however, limited to any residential conferences due to lack of bed space," it says.
The hotel's wedding package offers a block booking of 20 rooms for guests, leaving just 31 for other events. So it says it ends up losing business to other four-star hotels in the area.
Barton Manor has already had plans passed for an extension to its stand-alone accommodation The Lodge.