Datchet hotel owners clarify future after application submitted to house the homeless

Datchet hotel owners clarify future after application submitted to house the homeless

The owners of a hotel in Datchet have clarified its future after plans were submitted to change its use to house the homeless. 

The Manor Hotel, run by MG Hotels, has submitted plans to the Royal Borough to become a mixed hotel with a HMO (house in multiple occupation).

The plans state the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a ‘major financial impact’ to the site with the owners seeking alternative revenue streams.

An agreement has been reached with the council to use some of the hotel rooms for the homeless.

Out of 43 rooms available, 30 will be made available to the council and 13 will remain hotel rooms to guests once lockdown is lifted.

The hotel kitchen and restaurant will be used to provide meals to the homeless.

Sam Gill, director of MG Hotels, said he wanted to ‘reassure the community’ after fears were raised about its future use and said it would remain as hotel once the pandemic is over.

He said: “We have seen that some of the community have been upset with our recent planning application, so we want to alleviate those concerns and inform the public that we will be re-opening as an hotel once we are through the pandemic and the economic downturn.”

He said during the pandemic the hotel contacted hospitals to see if it could assist by giving rooms to staff who would otherwise find it difficult to go home every night due to their workload and social distancing.

It also housed homeless people and key workers.

Mr Gill said that the hotel management team felt they needed to help and at the same time it was assisting the business to survive through the pandemic.

Mr Gill added: “As a hotel we did not need to apply for a HMO licence but have only had to do so because the residents need to use the kitchen facilities to be able to cook their own meals.”

He said that currently food is being supplied from charities, food banks and from the hotel free of charge.

He added: “If these homeless individuals are to rehabilitate while here in the accommodation then they need to get used to being able to look after themselves.

“The hospitality industry has been decimated for now and the immediate future but the plan is that once we are through the pandemic and the economic decline we will be refurbishing the hotel and running it as normal, with a new food and beverage concept."

MG Hotels has been running the Manor Hotel since 1999 and during that time has carried out two other refurbishments and was planning a third just as the first lockdown struck. A pre-application is currently being prepared for the refurbishment.

Mr Gill said he was proud of his team who had worked through the pandemic going ‘above and beyond’ to help others and thanked residents who had supported the homeless by donating food and clothing.

Mr Gill said more than 40 people had been rehabilitated that were housed across the group during lockdown and have since moved onto permanent housing and altogether they had helped more than 100 people with accommodation.

“It has been heartbreaking and shocking that some of our residents have been ex-teachers, ex-forces, photographers, pub landlords, who had lost their way in life and ended up homeless for one reason or another”, he added

“This has been an incredibly humbling and very proud moment for the team.”

Visit 21/00143/FULL to view the application. A decision has yet to be made.

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