Chichester Hotel: Wickford hotel closed to the public to reopen and get £300k revamp

Wickford hotel set for £300K revamp after housing asylum seekers
-Credit: (Image: Google Maps)

An Essex hotel, which became temporary accommodation for asylum seekers, is set to re-open after a £300,000 revamp project. The Chichester Hotel in Wickford has been taken over by hospitality firm Ukay Hotels and Leisure Limited with bosses hoping to re-open the business in three or four months.

The firm is looking to refurbish the bedrooms and establish an Indian-style restaurant at the site. The hotel was previously closed after the Home Office closed the site to house asylum seekers in 2022.

The business also previously caused an outcry from customers after cancelling weddings and bookings last minute ahead of being used for asylum seekers. Masrur Ahmed, who runs Ukay Hotels and Leisure Limited, with his partners Ahfaz Miah and Ajad Meah, said: “We are excited about this project and look forward to restoring the hotel back to its past glory.

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“We are keen to work with the community to re-establish the hotel and banqueting venue for people who look forward to visiting. We are proposing to refurbish the bedrooms as they are outdated and establish an Indian fusion restaurant.”

The firm has applied to Rochford District Council for a new licence which would allow the business to open until 2am. The plans and licence application have been controversial with 12 objections from residents who have raised concerns about the potential of the business operating until 2am.

Mr Ahmed added: “With regards to the objections on the premises licence we will be able to provide assurances to the residents as the restaurant will operate a dry bar and the premises license has only been applied for weddings and functions that request alcohol.

“Alcohol will only be served with food and no bookings for events that don’t serve food as part of the catering would be accepted. The hotel, restaurant and banqueting will be family-run run so the well-being of the residents will always be a top priority for us. We have budgeted to spend £300,000 to refurbish the bedrooms, public areas and event space and we hope to be open and operating in three to four months.”

Rochford District Council is set to make a decision on the licence application at a meeting on Monday, June 24.