Batchwood Hall to be revived as a high-quality restaurant, bar and hotel
Historic Batchwood Hall in St Albans is to be given a new lease of life as an upmarket restaurant, bar and hotel.
The Hall, set in a superb location surrounded by woodland and the Batchwood golf course, will also become a picturesque venue for weddings and other celebrations.
Owners St Albans City and District Council has agreed a long-term lease with hospitality firm The Oakman Group for its redevelopment.
The company will make a multi-million pound investment into refurbishing the building which has lain empty since the pandemic.
Work to restore the Hall to its former glory is scheduled to begin next year after the necessary planning permissions have been granted with the venue likely to open for business in 2025.
Suzanne Jones, the Council’s Strategic Director for Customer, Business and Corporate Support, said:
We are very excited that this magnificent building is being brought back into use to become a St Albans landmark once again.
The plans to create luxury hotel rooms alongside a high-quality restaurant and bar will help establish the Hall as a top destination and attract people looking for a staycation.
We have worked hard to find an outstanding partner in Oakman who share our vision for this project. We have consulted with the nearby Gorhambury Estate and our leisure contractors Everyone Active who run the adjacent Batchwood golf and sports centre.
We will now ensure residents are kept informed about progress as we want to take the local community with us as the restoration plans proceed.
As well as reviving the Hall, the lease will also bring us much-needed revenue in the years ahead.
The Oakman Group already has a presence in St Albans as owners of The Beech House bar and restaurant which opened in the City Centre in 2014.
Peter Borg-Neal, Chief Executive of the company which is based in Berkhamsted, Herts, said:
Oakman Inns are delighted to have been chosen to develop this wonderful building. We look forward to creating a great space for the people of St. Albans to come together to enjoy our hospitality in an outstanding setting.
Batchwood Hall was built in 1874 as a manor house for barrister, architect and horologist Edmund Beckett, the 1st Baron Grimthorpe, who co-designed the Big Ben clock.
The building and surrounding estate was acquired by the Council in 1935 and a municipal 18-hole golf course was created in the grounds.
Most recently, the Hall had become a night club with the lease relinquished in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. It was last used as an emergency vaccination centre for COVID-19.
Oakman was chosen as the preferred operator after an intensive and open selection process last year. The Council has since been negotiating the terms and conditions of a 35-year-long lease.
During the process, Council officers visited one of Oakman’s premises, The Woburn, a pub, restaurant and 48-room hotel in Woburn, Beds.
The venue, leased from the Bedford Estates, was put forward as an example of the company’s work.
Pictures: top and bottom, Batchwood Hall.
Media contact: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727 819533; firstname.lastname@example.org.