The following story has appeared in the North West Business Insider Magazine. In these days of what appears to be nothing but bad news and coronavirus we thought a good new story might cheer you up:

“A North West hotelier has secured jobs and is helping to support its community during the coronavirus shutdown after securing a five-figure finance package from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Walker & Williams, which owns and operates four boutique five-star aparthotels in the North West, will use the funding to support cashflow and help protect 50 roles across Preston, Chester and Ormskirk.

The company, which has remained opened to cater to a small number of guests including service personnel, visiting Ministry of Defence staff and a family that recently lost its home to fire, has also taken the quieter period as an opportunity to give back to its local community.

The hotelier has launched a dedicated service from its Preston headquarters to help vulnerable or elderly people who are unable to leave the house during the coronavirus crisis.

Founder and director Max Walker-Williams said: "Walker & Williams is a family which means that, no matter how long this goes on for, we are not willing to let a single member of our team go. While the hotels are quiet, we've been able to shift our focus and help support our local community.”

Plans for new aparthotels are cropping up all over the UK at the moment. The latest one we have noted is in Newport, South Wales.

The proposed scheme would see two upper floors of Clarence House in the centre of Newport transformed into an apartment hotel.

The project would see 28 hotel suites created across floors eight and ten of the eleven storey building which is currently vacant.

Planning permission has already been secured to convert one of the two floors.

Proposed opening dates await publication.

Plans to create a new hotel in the centre of Leicester have just been approved.

The site is 1 Pocklingtons Walk in a Grade II-listed building which originally opened as offices for the Poor Law Commissioners in 1882. More recently the building has housed a registry office but it has been largely vacant since the 1970’s.

Plans envisage a 38-bedroom hotel on the site with 14 ground floor rooms and the remainder on upper floors. Reception would also be located be on the ground floor with a fitness area in the basement.

1 Pocklingtons Walk forms part of the Market Street Conservation Area in Leicester.

Plans to convert a derelict Liverpool building into an extension of an existing boutique hotel have been revealed.

The Lock and Key Hotel in Liverpool has published plans to convert its neighbouring building into a twelve-bedroom extension.

The Lock and Key Hotel opened in Duke Street in the Ropewalks District of central Liverpool at the end of 2018. It is a 14-bedroom boutique hotel set within a fully restored Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse. It features a speakeasy-style bar plus The Bar:Kitchen serving brunch during the day with a pizza & pasta menu in the evening.

Plans would see the neighbouring building which has been empty for many years and now falling into a state of disrepair linked and restored to the same standard as the Lock and Key Hotel. As well as providing twelve additional bedrooms the extension would also include a new residents’ lounge.

The application has been submitted to Liverpool City Council’s planning committee.

Plans to replace The Atlantic Corner Hotel in Liverpool with a new hotel have been approved.

The former Atlantic Corner Hotel was a six-storey, 100-bedroom hotel on the corner of Sandhills Lane and Regent Road in Liverpool. It closed its doors in 2016.

Plans have now been approved for a new 50-bedroom hotel with bedrooms on the upper floors and a reception, café, bar and function area on the ground floor.

Plans have been published to build a new TV and film studio in Ashford, Kent. The project also includes a new 120-bedroom hotel, 68 serviced apartments, a conference centre targeting the creative industries plus a gym, restaurant and leisure space.

The proposed site is the derelict Newtown railway works, a locomotive manufacturing site from 1847 until it was shut in the early 1980s.

The £250million planned investment will restore five at-risk Grade II-listed-buildings and convert them into an 80,000 sq-ft TV and film studio plus ancillary production units and a media village.

The project is the brainchild of The Creative District Improvement Company (TCDI Co.) which is teaming up with developer Quinn Estates. The developers are hoping to get final planning permission at a meeting of Ashford borough council this week. The project is scheduled for completion in 2021.

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