Developers fronting controversial plans for a new city centre hotel have unveiled fresh images of their vision in an attempt to win round detractors.
Plans for the derelict Slatters site in St Margaret’s Street would see a replacement 130-room hotel built – complete with rooftop restaurant.
Critics say the proposals are out of proportion and not in-keeping with the surrounding historic architecture.
Latest image from developers
But the team behind the scheme is adamant it will become a “destination venue for Canterbury”.
Zaw Htut, director of Slatters Development Ltd, said the firm was promising “a scheme which we believe Canterbury deserves and which will be a great addition to the city”.
His latest images show the new hotel from street level, as well as the proposed view towards the Cathedral from the rooftop eaterie.
Mr Htut confirmed he was in talks with an “independent local operator” to deliver a “high end” restaurant.
He also said he was negotiating with an “international brand hotel” to occupy the four-floor hotel below.
This is thought to be the Hilton chain, though Mr Htut could not confirm this.
Rooftop restaurant with Cathedral views
He told the Gazette: “We are genuinely excited and committed about bringing forward our proposals for an international hotel and destination restaurant in the city centre of Canterbury.”
His team’s plans would also bring further employment to the city centre as well boosting tourism, added Mr Htut.
“The completed development will provide approximately 100 local long-term jobs, as well as the employment of many local trades and professionals during the construction stage,” he said.
“In addition to this, the development will bring tourism and business to Canterbury longer term while also bringing a dynamic hotel, restaurant and commercial space to a section of St Margaret’s Street that has been a vacant eyesore for over 10 years.”
Mr Htut, a trained surveyor who grew up in Folkestone, set up Slatters Development Ltd with fellow director Mike Wood.
They have drafted in award-winning architect Guy Hollaway – the man behind Folkestone’s renowned Rocksalt restaurant – to breathe new life into the derelict site.
Guy Hollaway at the current site
Mr Hollaway’s team is briefed with delivering a replacement hotel, shops and restaurant.
His plans include retaining listed Georgian facades, some of which are in danger of collapse, and restoring them to their former glory.
The four-floor hotel complex is to boast a gym, conference facilities and its own internal restaurant with a glass roof.
It will also feature glass apertures in the foyer floor allowing visitors to gaze on the remains of a Roman theatre below.
The development’s crowning glory is said to be a fifth-floor restaurant offering diners “breathtaking” views of Canterbury Cathedral across the city’s historic rooftops.
Mr Htut said the restaurant would offer between 80 to 100 covers and would also have outside terrace space.
“We want to deliver a high quality international brand hotel and restaurant that will essentially become a destination venue for Canterbury,” he said.
The proposals have so far proved divisive, with critics urging the council, which owns the site, to exercise caution.
Two weeks ago we reported how members of the Canterbury Society expressed concern over the scale of the development.
They have called on the developers to appoint an independent specialist to draw up artists’ impressions of the impact the new building may have.