New swimming pool, café and restaurant approved in Lincoln White Hart Hotel expansion

The White Hart Hotel in Lincoln's Bailgate
-Credit: (Image: Ellis Karran/LDRS)


Multiple expansion plans for the White Hart Hotel have been approved by City of Lincoln Council’s planning committee. The decision paves the way the way for new rooms, a swimming pool complex and also a new café, restaurant and retail space to be built uphill.

The White Hart Hotel’s plans for not just the existing hotel itself, but also expansion works along 2 Bailgate, Castle Hill and the Judges' Lodgings were also considered and debated during City of Lincoln Council’s planning committee meeting on Wednesday, July 10. It comes after businessman Andrew Long took over the hotel and then went on to purchase the nearby Judges' Lodgings from Lincolnshire County Council.

He has a grand vision for uphill Lincoln and his newly acquired accommodation, seeking to bring the White Hart Hotel back to the forefront of Lincoln’s hospitality sector. First on the council’s agenda was the Judges' Lodgings and 2 Bailgate, which will be turned into extra hotel rooms upstairs, including above the existing visitor information centre at Castle Hill, with a retail arcade downstairs.

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A cafe and restaurant with associated kitchen and toilet facilities will also be inside the Judges' Lodgings, and a new building added with retail or commercial spaces, and more undercroft car parking below. It involves the demolition of a “ghastly” 1950s extension to the rear of the Judges' Lodgings, paving the way for a new, revitalised extension, and the maintaining of car parking spaces, but replacing the previous undercroft at 2 Bailgate with a Georgian arcade-style shopfront.

Councillors don't expect parking provision to be affected too badly by this, saying there will still be around 30 parking spaces on site after this development. New access points would also be created to link Bailgate with Castle Square and St Paul’s Lane.

This was swiftly and promptly approved unanimously by planners, bringing councillors onto the next item — the swimming pool and spa complex within the existing hotel structure. An application for the hotel was put through in February to construct a swimming pool, spa and gym inside the hotel, located to the rear of the building on Eastgate, to be used by hotel guests.

Plans have been approved to expand the White Hart Hotel in Lincoln. Pictured is Number 2 Bailgate
Plans have been approved to expand the White Hart Hotel in Lincoln. Pictured is Number 2 Bailgate -Credit:Ellis Karran/LDRS

It would require no external changes to the Grade II listed building, but would need internal layout alterations to remove existing concrete floor slabs to make way for the 11m long and 1.4m deep pool. This came with a bit more opposition, in the form of Dr Samantha Stein, a local archaeology expert who spoke to the planning committee and argued there is “zero to no public benefit” for this development.

“We are robbing the public of potential heritage and for what? A paddling pool?” she asked.

Councillors recognised that fears of archaeological impact were the “primary concern” with this particular development, with Councillor Calum Watt saying “we might find another dodecahedron” in reference to the famous Norton Disney find from earlier this year.

Councillor Martin Christopher did say it presented an opportunity to find out “what’s under our feet” inside the listed building of the White Hart Hotel, so long as a dedicated archaeological team were conducting the excavation works. City of Lincoln Council’s archaeology officer said it was almost certain that Roman archaeology would be discovered by excavation of this site, saying it is “consistently” found around 2m deep within previous excavations in the uphill Lincoln area.

“Any of the artefacts that are found during this excavation will form part of the site archive, which will be transferred to the Lincolnshire museum service,” the officer confirmed.

He said, much like the aforementioned dodecahedron, it would be “absolutely fair game” for public display, should anything significant be found. The swimming pool plan was approved unanimously by councillors, and, alongside listed building consent, which was also required, it was the third and final item to gain backing from the planning committee, with standard conditions that come with an application such as this.