THE director of the development firm which has just bought Bishopstrow House hotel from Longleat say there are exciting plans for the house.

Versant Developments took over the hotel earlier in the year and has already started making improvements but say the wellbeing of staff their main priority.

Frank Mountain, director of Versant Developments, said: “We are very excited about this new venture.

“Bishopstrow is a spectacular hotel in a wonderful setting and when we originally looked at the prospect of purchasing the hotel we saw great potential here.

“I came here about 20 years ago and really liked it, but the problem is no money has been spent on it. It is in desperate need of some care.

“The first thing that we want to sort out is the welfare of our staff.

“The staff are amazing and deserve somewhere nice to eat and relax.

“Without the staff there wouldn’t be a business here - they are the heart and sole of it.

Mr Mountain explained his plans for the hotel and the long-term goals he wants to achieve.

He said: “We are going to redevelop a lot of aspects of the house.

“At the moment we are cleaning out the old fireplace that to my knowledge hasn’t been used for 15 years.

“We will be redeveloping the bar area, upgrading the rooms and eventually the whole spa will have been upgraded, but we expect that to take three years or so.

“We also have river rights on Wylye river, so we plan to have some fly fishing going on there.

“We are changing the food at the hotel and we are going to be focusing on serving good quality food from local produce.”

Mr Mountain and the staff have a few ideas up their sleeve for events that will take place at the hotel.

“We will be having a gin evening for World Gin Day. I am very much into gin and have a personal collection of around 200, so we will be placing a focus on gins.

“On World Chocolate Day we will be having a chocolate and wine pairing evening. We plan to do a lot more of these types of things. We can’t say who yet but we will be having some celebrity chefs coming in to do pop-up sessions.”

The work is expected to take around three or four years.