Cornwall's former county council offices in Truro look set to be transformed into a four-star hotel and spa.
The sale of the Grade II-listed Old County Hall (below) to Nigel Carpenter (pictured), the owner of St Michael's Hotel & Spa in Falmouth, has been approved by Cornwall Council and is now subject to planning permission being obtained.
Carpenter intends to create a luxury interior, as well as retain the distinctive features of the historic property, which was built in 1890. The property will reopen as the 40-bedroom Truro Spa Hotel, with much of the ground floor taken up by a destination spa with eight treatment rooms, a beauty salon, hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms, saunas and a fitness suite, as well as a pâtisserie and café.
The old debating chamber will become an 80-seater brasserie with adjacent bar and lounges. There will also be extensive meeting, conference and function facilities with new gardens and parking for more than 60 cars.
The hotel will include 20 spacious long-stay suites which will be aimed at businesspeople making extended stays or relocating to the area.
Carpenter, who refurbished the award-winning, 61-bedroom St Michael's Hotel & Spa over 10 years at a cost of £4.5m, said he was delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to convert what will become a flagship hotel for Truro.
"It will provide a much-needed facility which will help fuel the growth of our capital city, as well as ensure the building's conservation for the future," he said. "We hope it will become the hub of the city and a meeting place for all."
Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall, said: "The proposed development would be transformational for Truro by providing a signature hotel and focus which has been sadly missing. Truro has often been seen as a "mini Bath" owing to its historic city centre and range of shops and eateries, but unfortunately we have not had the equivalent of the Royal Bath hotel to entertain and accommodate high-end visitors and key visiting businesspeople, let alone potential investors to Cornwall."
The Truro Spa Hotel is expected to open its doors in 2014, after the building's current occupants are relocated to more modern facilities.
By Janet Harmer
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