WISBECH’S historic Rose and Crown Hotel is set for a transformation thanks to its new owner who has promised to restore it to its former glory.
Businessman Jim Farrelly is determined to wipe the slate clean and bring the Rose and Crown back to the first class establishment it once was and he hopes to do it all by Christmas.
Mr Farrelly bought the hotel, which stands proudly on Wisbech Market Place, after it was seized from previous owners Jonathan Davies and his partner Jacqueline Noot by receivers and put up for sale in February this year.
He has been working on the premises for the past three weeks and said most of the work so far has involved clearing the building of lorry loads of rubbish.
“The receivers took a lot of rubbish away - I think there were about three lorry loads, but there was still masses of rubbish everywhere and it has taken this long to get it cleared so we can start to see what really needs doing,” said Mr Farrelly, who has been in the pub and restaurant trade in London and describes the renovation as a ‘nice project’.
The building has been allowed to deteriorate and Mr Farrelly, who has family links to the area, said the first big job is to make it weather proof.
“The first stage is the roofing and the windows. Once we have got that sorted out and the building is weather proof we can start to renovate the rest of the building.
“We’re planning to put new bathrooms in all the bedrooms, redecorating throughout. We will also be remodelling the reception as it is too big and needs moving round.
“We will have new furnishings, new carpets, curtains. We will be getting in professional cleaners to blitz the kitchens as well as replacing some appliances. The car park will be done up, we will have a nice smoking area outside on a decking area,” explained Mr Farrelly.
He will be creating a new entrance to the historic Trumpet Hall off the car park, and the hall itself will be given a make-over to create a function room for weddings and other events.
In fact Mr Farrelly is visualising turning the Rose and Crown into Wisbech’s version of the well-respected George Inn at Stamford.
“We won’t be on quite the same scale because they have more features than we have to work with, but that is the kind of thing I am thinking about,” said Mr Farrelly, who is over-seeing the project himself.
One of Mr Farrelly’s biggest challenges will be to re-instate the Rose and Crown’s reputation as the prestige venue it once was. A major task in the light of last year’s visit by Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi, who was left flabbergasted by the state of the hotel and poor response by Mr Davies to her proposals to improve the premises.
But Mr Farrelly is determined to make the Rose and Crown Fenland’s premier venue and a place where anyone would wish to stay.