An historic building which has sat empty for years is set to be transformed into a boutique hotel.

Old Abbey House has been empty since 2014, and its future has been hotly debated by Vale of White Horse District Council over the last few years.

Last year the council revealed it will sell the building for £927,000 to a Witney-based development company called Ede Holdings.

Now, planning permission has been unanimously granted to build the 27-room hotel on Abbey Close.

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The Grade II listed building, which dates back to the 18th century, will be externally and internally modified to transform it into the hotel.

At the district council planning meeting on Wednesday March 9, many councillors and speakers were in support of the new hotel but wanted to make sure the history of the building was preserved.

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Rodger Thomas spoke at the meeting on behalf of the Abingdon Area Archaeology and History Society and Friends of the Abingdon Civic society.

Mr Thomas said: “We are not objecting to this scheme; we welcome that the building will be refurbished and restored and put to good use.”

He added that Old Abbey House has a “complex” history and that “old buildings contain surprises”.

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Mr Thomas raised the concern that refurbishment works could unveil and destroy historical evidence. He suggested that any vital evidence discovered should be recorded.

District councillor for Abingdon Helen Pighills, agreed with Mr Thomas and asked if small group tours could visit the hotel on Abingdon heritage days.

Some heritage concerns were met in the planning meeting as it was confirmed that all fireplaces and stained-glass windows will be retained.

Herald Series: Old abbey House hotel designs. Old abbey House hotel designs.

Mike Pighills district councillor for Abingdon, proposed a motion to accept the application.

He said: “Seeing the building taken out of a derelict state and being put to good use is a fantastic thing to do. The only concern is about protecting the heritage asset and there are methods by which we can do that.”

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Councillor Ben Mabbett agreed and said: “We need to protect the historic nature of Old Abbey House and anything we can do to find out a bit more about it. I think it will benefit the community and the applicants as well.”

Daniel Ede has previously been involved in the Four Pillars Hotel Group, which owns hotels including the Oxford Thames, Oxford Spires, Cotswold Water Park and Tortworth Court.

The company hopes to use the building’s existing footprint for the new hotel and has said it will protect its fabric and status.

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