A family-run Derbyshire business under threat of demolition to make way for HS2 has won a reprieve and is ‘here to stay’.
The Sitwell Arms Hotel in Renishaw has received official confirmation that the UK’s new high speed rail network will skirt to the east of its 10-acre site, saving it from the bulldozer.
Correspondence from the Department for Transport ends many months of speculation and uncertainty for the family, who bought The Sitwell Arms in 2000.
Managing director Jo-Anne Oldfield, said: “Word got round that we were on the route of HS2 and naturally this put people off making advance bookings.
“This particularly affected our order book for weddings as couples plan one, two - even three - years ahead.
“It has not been easy and we’ve worked hard to survive. However, I am delighted to say we are here to stay, that’s official.”
The family is now forging ahead with plans to invest in the property, a former 18th Century coaching inn. Phase one is the refurbishment of the restaurant and lounge bar, to the tune of £25,000.
Phase two will involve an upgrade to the accommodation, in early 2018. Jo-Anne, 43, began working at the hotel as a waitress aged 14.
The Sitwell Arms was bought in 2000 by Jo-Anne’s parents John and Gloria Selby and they continue to play a hands-on role in the running of the business, both at 70 years old. Jo-Anne said: “Now, with HS2 behind us and the refurbishment under way, we are looking forward to a bright future for us and for The Sitwell.”
The HS2 high speed rail link will follow a route through north Derbyshire and South Yorkshire that roughly follows the M1 and M18, with a spur coming off that would serve Chesterfield and Sheffield city centre.
When the HS2 route was announced, Councillor Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “This is a real game changer for Chesterfield.”