Traders are hoping that a new hotel will help to breathe life back into a “neglected” area of March.
J D Wetherspoons has been granted planning permission to create a 12-bedroom hotel in the former Middle Level Commissioners’ office in Dartford Road, along with extending the beer garden of its neighbouring bar, The Hippodrome.
The office block has stood empty for about 18 months and the refurbishment will create 10 full-time and part-time jobs.
March Chamber of Commerce chairman Debbie Buck has welcomed the move and hopes it will attract more people into Dartford Road.
Mrs Buck, whose business D K Therapy operates in Dartford Road, also hopes that the restoration will be sympathetic to the historic building, which is not listed.
She said: “It would be nice to see life being brought back and it doesn’t look very good with grills on the window. It will be good to see it brought back into use.
“Dartford Road is an important part of the town and is often overlooked, but we are just 50 yards away from Broad Street.
“The important thing from our point of view is expanding the town centre.”
March mayor Kit Owen is also pleased the hotel has been given the go-ahead by Fenland District Council.
He said: “It is a good thing as it is right in the centre of town and bringing the building back into use.
“It is also really good that it is creating new jobs.”
Wetherspoons do not currently have a start date for the restoration work or the hotel’s opening.
The hotel will have a main reception at ground floor along with a linen and luggage store.
Two bedrooms will be on the ground floor of the front building with three bedrooms on the first floor and a further quad room on the top floor.
At the back of the building, there will be three further bedrooms at ground floor and three further bedrooms at first floor. One of the ground floor bedrooms will be a disabled suite.
The planning statement says: “The development will increase shopper/visitor footfall in this part of town and introduce life and vibrancy to the building. JDWetherspoon intends to invest a significant sum of money into the refurbishmentproject which would bring new confidence to the area.”