March 9, 2012 7.00 am This story is over 140 months old

Bid to turn The Lawn into hotel

The Lawn sale: Owner of Charlotte House hotel makes seven-figure bid for the historic complex, planning to turn it into an upmarket hotel.

A Lincoln businessman says it has made a seven-figure bid to buy The Lawn and transform the former mental hospital into a quality hotel and conference centre.

The City of Lincoln Council bought The Lawn for around £400,000 over three decades ago and decided to sell the complex because it wasn’t sustainable anymore.

The deadline for the bids passed on Wednesday.

Hotelier Jonathan Pass, owner of Charlotte House Hotel, plans to include a restaurant, bistro and public bar, each with its own entrance and open to city residents.

He wants to fund the refurbishment of the Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory and hand it over to the Joseph Banks Society to manage and run as a visitor attraction.

If the bid is successful the project would create around 30 jobs.

Development plans for the new-look hotel and conference complex include adding fountains, restoring many of the building’s original features and creating an outdoor plaza with seating and landscaping.

If the scheme wins the backing of City Hall, it would transform the buildings in the complex into Lincoln’s largest conference facility with room for 500 delegates.

“The Lawn could be the third jewel in the city’s crown alongside the castle and the cathedral. It is a fantastic building with a rich heritage and we want to turn it into Lincoln’s stately home,” said Jonathan Pass.

“The experience I’ve had transforming Charlotte House from a derelict building into a thriving business demonstrates an understanding of the site and the potential of the Lawns, we hosted over 150 weddings last year, the location proving ideal.

“I am hopeful we will be successful. I really want to see the building play its part in the city’s economic growth rather than be turned into flats,” he added.

The plans have already received backing from the Joseph Banks Society trustees.

“We consider the conservatory to be a huge asset to both the complex and to the city of Lincoln and we are fully supportive of the proposal,” said the Society Honorary Secretary Paul Scott.

“The proposal will, in our view, provide an anchor point for the whole uphill area of Lincoln in terms of tourism and the economy whilst conserving and enhancing a vital part of Lincoln’s heritage.”

Related Report: Lincolnshire Echo | Photo: Dominic Clark for The Lincolnite