A street food dining experience, which helped The Ffolkes, at Hillington, keep afloat during the pandemic, now features highly in exciting new plans to future-proof the venue.
Proposals just submitted to West Norfolk planners include a new open plan building to replace the temporary structures which house Street FEAST, the venture which was launched late last year and provided a lifeline to outside food and drink retailers as well as The Ffolkes.
Other plans include hot tub cabins, improvements to courtyard hotel rooms and the stables function room space, more parking, an adventure golf course in a children’s covered play area and safety improvements at the entrance to the site.
“It is going to be really fantastic,” said owner Ian Wilson.
Around £3.5million has been spent refurbishing and renovating the property since buying it in 2017 and it now employs 40 people.
A statement, submitted as part of the planning application, says that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a drop of turnover from £2 million to £600,000 and The Ffolkes has had to review its business strategy to think of ways in which its can continue to be profitable and continue to provide a high quality customer experience to ensure people feel comfortable returning to the hospitality industry.
Street Feast was born in the November closure of 2020 in the wedding venue courtyard but now that weddings are permitted again it has to move to accommodate 2022 bookings.
Mr Wilson said that the plan is to create a large open plan covered building so that the FEAST experience can continue on Friday nights and Saturdays and also to house the existing children’s play area together with a new golf adventure course which will be open seven days a week.
There will also be five hot tub cabins for overnight stays in a quiet corner of the site and eight of the courtyard bedrooms are being refurbished.
There will be improvements to the stables events area and also to the main hotel building including the lounge area and changing the main reception area.
Mr Wilson said that car parking space will be enlarged, there will be electric charging points provided and the access from the main road will be widened to allow more than one vehicle to enter or leave the site at the same time. “That will be an important safety improvement” he said.
The aim is to start refurbishment in January and the hotel will have to be closed from January 4 to January 14 to make a start. The target for completing the whole project is June 2022.