The George to rise again

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The George looking immaculate before the fire

After much speculation in and around Rye as to the long term fate of the George hotel, two planning applications have recently been submitted by Ptolemy Dean Architects to Rother District Council (RDC).

The planning applications follow the substantial fire, which damaged the roof and upper floor of the Grade II listed hotel, in the summer of 2019. The architects say they propose to:

  • ‘reinstate, repair and fully restore The George’;
  • ‘use the opportunity presented by the fire to understand and reinterpret the component historic buildings following historic research’;
  • ‘take the opportunity to review the arrangement of the hotel to better comply with current building control regulations, namely fire and accessibility’.

The planning applications cover separate aspects of the rebuild. One covers a ‘like for like’ rebuilding of the damaged hotel, while the second application is called a ‘re-ordering scheme’ and this includes a number of elements to allow better compliance with current regulations.

A fundraising dinner for the new Discovery Centre at Rye Harbour in The George

The proposed additions within the ‘re-ordering scheme’ include:

  • Replacement of the present external metal fire stair from the second floor ballroom bedrooms with a new internal staircase and lift;
  • Provision of direct external access from the hotel’s inner courtyard to the three ground floor bedrooms along Lion Street to provide accessible accommodation to those with limited mobility;
  • Create two new openings into the adjacent shop at 97 High Street, owned by the George, to improve accessibility to the restaurant for customers entering from the High Street.

The architects say that the evolution, and expansion, of the George over time had meant there were frequent changes of level on each floor, and said, ‘In many ways this contributes to its charm and appeal. But in an age of increased inclusivity, a lack of accessibility is a challenge to the users of historic buildings.

Fire at the George Hotel

‘Changes in level within the working areas and kitchens also hinders the operation and productivity of the buildings which cannot be laid out efficiently as a result.’

You can read their detailed report, which includes previously unseen photos of the damage the fire inflicted on the building, here. The planning applications can be found on Rother’s planning portal here.

Image Credits: Anthony Kimber , Nazarin Montag , Rye News library .

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