A MAJOR £6.5million project to make a hotel within the Malvern Hills district more accessible for disabled visitors has been unveiled.
The Elms Hotel, based in Abberley, was purchased in June by Tim Hopkins, chief executive of Gemini Group, and the new owner is now looking to make vast accessibility improvements.
While the hotel was well-loved, it did not cater sufficiently for weddings and other large functions and was in ‘desperate need of investment’.
However, the emerging plans will address the issues and secure its future.
And proposals to make the hotel completely accessible to disabled guests are driving the designs.
“Everyone should have access to all of life’s opportunities, whether they have an impairment or not,” said Mr Hopkins.
“There appears to be a serious gap in high-quality, fully-accessible and affordable hotel rooms at the moment in Britain.
“Therefore we want to develop The Elms as a hotel which helps both able people and those living with disabilities to enjoy the luxuries of more independent lives equally.”
The project for The Elms has already been assessed by national disability charity Revitalise which could potentially be in the frame as a future operator.
Chris Simmonds, chief executive of Revitalise, said the charity welcomed the proposals to develop The Elms to ‘further assist Worcestershire’s ambition to become the most inclusive county in the UK’.
“There is potential for Revitalise to operate The Elms in the future but this will depend on a number of factors such as planning permission and funding.
“The Elms is a wonderful hotel in a breath-taking setting and for it to welcome disabled people in the way the plans describe would be truly ground-breaking,” he added.
Worcester-based business One Creative Environments Ltd has forged the designs for the multi-million pound project.
And the firm will deliver the scheme while ensuring all aspects of design are fully accessible to meet the needs of the hotel’s future visitors.
Mark Martin, director at One Creative Environments Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be involved with this fantastic hotel and superb grounds.
“The multi-million pound cash injection will secure local jobs and create a viable and sustainable business at The Elms for its long-term future.”
Mr Martin added he was looking forward to receiving ‘vital feedback’ from the community on the plans.
If the proposals are approved by Malvern Hills District Council planning chiefs, it is expected the spa and dining rooms will remain open throughout the construction period.
Consultation events were held at Abberley Village Hall and The Elms yesterday but residents can still leave their feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.