The new owners of a Holbeach landmark building have been “overwhelmed” by the feedback to their plans.
“It is amazing to see such a community within the town coming together and we are very proud to be able to be part of that,” said Rob Bridgewater, director of API Services which bought the hotel in December.
A Facebook page outlining proposals and asking for input from local people was set up and Mr Bridgewater said the company was keen to update people.
“We would like the Chequers to be the hub of Holbeach it once was, focusing on a family friendly atmosphere, a restaurant offering affordable food and a safe, friendly environment.
“We want to have theme nights, coffee mornings, bands and music and both darts and pool teams. We are also looking to work with local sports teams and businesses to bring more people to Holbeach,” said Mr Bridgewater.
But he also warned that the only way to make the idea financially viable would be to create apartments in the building to be rented-out.
“The more apartments we can create, the more this will enable us to invest in the pub. We are currently proposing a mix of 15, one- and two-bed apartments for the town.” he said.
The accommodation will be in the former ‘hotel’ section of The Chequers.
“For those concerned about short-term or hotel accommodation in the town, we have recently completed a 14-bedroom bed and breakfast in Holbeach,” he added.
There is also accommodation at other venues in the town.
Video footage showing the state of the interior of the building has also been put on the Facebook page and shows the task ahead of API Services. (Click here to see the video).
“As you can see, it is going to be quite a project,” said Mr Bridgewater.
Former owner Bob McDermott commented that “it looks 100 per cent worse than when we bought it in 1989.”
While work continues at the hotel, the car park has been closed for health and safety reasons.
But once complete, it will re-open with allocated spaces for the apartments and the rest available for patrons of The Chequers.
There will also be free parking for two hours for people to go shopping in the town.
“We believe this should help with local businesses and bringing people out into the town as currently parking is of a minimum,” said Mr Bridgewater.
The plan remains to re-open the Chequers by the end of this year.
The Chequers lost its alcohol licence in January 2017 and was later used as a house of multiple occupation – but was closed for a range of breaches of legislation.
South Holland District Council carried out a series of inspections and the then landlord was prosecuted for failing to comply with improvement notices and failing to licence a house in multiple occupation.
The building has since become semi-derelict and an eyesore in the town.