Queen Hotel in Aldershot High Street to become Wetherspoon pub despite neighbour concerns
An empty, Grade II listed hotel in Aldershot is a step close to being opened as a Wetherspoon pub after permission was granted to make alterations to the building.
An application to transform the Queen Hotel in Aldershot High Street by partially demolishing existing extensions to the rear of the building and erecting a new one, as well as removing some of the fire escapes and creating a beer garden was put before Rushmoor Borough Council's development control committee last Wednesday.
No date has been given for the work to start, but images contained within planning proposals suggest the pub could retain The Queen Hotel name.
Councillors expressed their pleasure in seeing the building, in a prominent position on the corner with Barrack Road, being returned to use as it had been described as having a negative effect on the appearance of the Aldershot West conservation area.
Cllr Roland Dibbs said: "It's a very prominent and important building in Aldershot."
Cllr Frank Rust welcomed the increased significance the west side of the town was taking on.
"Especially now the Westgate has taken off, it feels like the whole focus of the town is turning to that area, which is good," he said.
It is hope the new Wetherspoon will act as a stepping stone, bringing customers from Westgate, which opened a year ago, into the town centre.
The beer garden, to be created in the existing courtyard at the back of the building, will be big enough for 18 tables and customers will be allowed to sit there until 9pm from Sunday to Thursday and 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The upstairs bedrooms will remain as lodging rooms, but any future plans to allow customers to use them would also have to be approved by the council.
Although popular with councillors, the news that the Wetherspoon is set to open will be a disappointment to neighbours who opposed the plans.
Letters outlining the plans were sent to 84 neighbours and three responded by raising concerns over noise caused by customers arriving, leaving and using the beer garden, and from the construction work, deliveries and music. Increased traffic and parking issues and food smells and cigarette smoke were also worries.
The report on the application, however, stated that the use of the building as a public house was long-standing and customers would not have an adverse affect on neighbours.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: "This is a step in the right direction for us, however, we still need to obtain a licence for the pub.
"We are as keen as ever to open in Aldershot and believe that a Wetherspoon pub will be an asset to the town and also act as a catalyst for further investment from other businesses."