Hotel plan for disused floors of Corby's former landmark Co-op department store

Wetherspoons wants to extend its existing hotel

Friday, 15th October 2021, 8:04 am
The Saxon Crown has been a popular addition to Corby. Image: Alison Bagley.

The upper floors of the former Westgate Co-op store in Corby could finally be brought back to life after plans were submitted for an extension of the JD Wetherspoons hotel.

The department store in Elizabeth Street store shut its doors in 2007 after 54 years serving Corby customers, just weeks before Willow Place was officially opened. The iconic store prided itself on selling everything under one roof, and at one point was home to the popular Carlton restaurant on the top floor.

But it fell into decline and finally closed its doors to paying customers fourteen years ago. Grand plans to turn it into a leisure complex never came to fruition after the Evolution Corby project fell through. The British Heart Foundation took on the ground floor to be used as a furniture shop but the upper floors were left to decay.

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The new hotel will take up the top two floors above the British Heart Foundation store.

While the town centre flourished the eastern end of town has not prospered, and the court house, police station and the TA centre all currently lie unused.

In 2014 JD Wetherspoons opened the Saxon Crown in the southern part of the building along with their new concept hotel, featuring 12 rooms.

It has proved popular and now the firm, owned by controversial figure Tim Martin, wants to extend into the disused floors above the BHF shop to provide 30 more rooms.

A proposal submitted to North Northamptonshire councillors says: "The building requires extensive works to address numerous dilapidations due to years of neglect.

The final day of Westgate in 2007. Sue Merrell and Sylwia Gliwinska with long serving customer Bill Brown, who came into the shop daily with a chocolate bar for the workers.

"We believe our proposals for an extension to the existing hotel above the JDW restaurant / public house will continue to help promote vitality back to the town and improve the local economy by providing jobs to the local population as well as retaining shoppers in the town centre, rather than travelling to nearby Leicester or Peterborough, having a positive effect on local businesses and the community."

The company proposes to remodel the interior of the building to provide 15 rooms on the first floor made up of 12 twin rooms, five family rooms and five pairs of linked rooms.

There will be a further 15 rooms at second floor level made up of seven twin rooms, eight family rooms and two pairs of linked rooms.

The firm also wants to include five medium-sized conference rooms provided on the first floor plus a new staircase.

The Westgate department store before it closed in 2007. Image: Northants Telegraph.

In their consultee's response, the council's local planning officers have supported the application, saying: "The proposed development would result in the loss of retail floorspace in the town centre. However, this loss would be to a main town centre use that would enhance the overall vitality of the town centre at this location and result in the refurbishment of a dilapidated building that has been vacant for some time."

You can view the application and comment on it here.

The shop held a closing-down sale for several weeks before it shut its doors.