Brasserie Blanc to open a branch in Francis Hotel
A restaurant chain run by chef Raymond Blanc is to open a branch in a Bath hotel.
Brasserie Blanc is hoping to open its restaurant in the Francis Hotel, in Queen Square, in May.
The firm – which has nine restaurants including one in Bristol – had been looking for premises since the rejection by planners of a scheme to convert the Friends Meeting House in York Street in 2008.
The Francis is closed for a major facelift which will see an increase in bedrooms and internal and external improvements.
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Brasserie Blanc has applied to serve food until 12.30am every night, and to serve alcohol from 10am to midnight Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 11.30pm on Sundays.
The hotel's owner, Mercure, has also applied for a new licence of its own, with its wishlist including music and dancing until 1am Monday to Saturday.
Brasserie Blanc has declined to comment on its plans. On the firm's website, M Blanc says: "Brasserie Blanc is a place for relaxed enjoyment where I can offer you simple, high quality food that comes as close as possible to the meals that my mother prepared for me at home in Besançon and at a price that encourages you to visit us regularly."
The restaurant will operate in the hotel's existing dining room and piano lounge area, although there would be an additional new entrance from Barton Street.
Mercure said of its own plans: "The refurbished hotel will offer 98 bedrooms (an increase of three rooms) including individually styled executive and feature bedrooms and an up-market restaurant. The hotel will also boast a new dedicated breakfast room and onsite parking."
It is not known when the hotel will reopen.
Meanwhile, the number of tables and chairs outside a new cafe for the Roman Baths has been reduced after concern over pavement clutter in a tourism hotspot.
The operator of the new council-owned cafe in Abbey Church Yard has also agreed to shelve plans for parasols at its al fresco tables.
The Roman Baths Kitchen is due to open this summer in what was previously the Binks restaurant, which stretches between the church yard and Cheap Street, with work about to begin on the building's transformation.
There will be a ground floor daytime cafe and a first floor restaurant for evening dining.
Searcys – which also runs the more formal restaurant at the nearby Pump Room – originally wanted to put 22 tables and 66 chairs in front of the new cafe.
But these figures have now been cut to 16 and 56 amid concern at the amount of space in the busy thoroughfare they would take up.
Even the larger plans were, however, a reduction from Binks's operation, which had planning permission for 27 tables and 97 chairs.
B&NES Council wants to create a less formal restaurant in response to visitor feedback.