New lease of life for hotel
A FORMER pub could be transformed into a new gym for women from the Asian community.
The former Normacot Hotel, in Furnace Road, Normacot, was built in 1935 and the ground floor is currently used as a convenience store.
Under plans submitted to Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the basement and part of the ground floor would be converted.
There would be no change to the outside appearance of the building.
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Local residents today welcomed the proposals to bring the building back into use.
In a document submitted to the council, applicants Normacot-based Rock Properties said: "Research has uncovered a strong requirement for a gymnasium that could be used by the local Asian women's community and therefore the vacant space within the Normacot Hotel is considered to offer the ideal accommodation.
"It has to be borne in mind that the anticipated client base for the gymnasium will be within walking distance of the premises."
Rock Properties said some of the clientele would be either 'unable or unwilling' to travel to a site further away,
Sarah Watts, aged 34, from Dresden, said: "A lot of people round here either can't drive or don't want to, and I don't think people necessarily want the pub back because there just isn't the interest unfortunately."
Chris Rawlingson, who runs Barking Mad Dog Grooming in Upper Normacot Road, has also welcomed the plans.
The 29-year-old said: "I think gyms are increasingly popular in Stoke-on-Trent, but people around here have to drive out, or get the bus, which isn't always ideal.
"This community would probably really benefit from a new gym."
The proposals are currently out to public consultation.
Local historian Mervyn Edwards said: "The problem preservationists are facing is that we are seeing an ever decreasing amount of operational pubs in North Staffordshire.
"It takes a very special pub to manage to keep going and get enough business in to sustain it.
"Although it's sad to see an historical building like the Normacot Hotel not serving it's intended purpose, at least the building itself will remain intact. That's about as much as preservationists can hope for."