A wedding company who have acquired a popular hotel have been accused of 'destroying heritage' of the site after renaming the hotel - but have maintained that they are committed to "working with the community".

The Apartment Group, who own several wedding venues across the North East, Northumberland and North Yorkshire, recently announced the acquisition of Raven Hall Hotel in Robin Hood's Bay. 

But things soon turned sour after regulars of the hotel and those in the nearby community accused The Apartment Group of a "complete disregard of the landscape" with its proposals for the site. 

Already, the hotel has undergone a rebrand, with the new venue called Grand Villa Heights, which people claim "undoes years of hard work of Raven Hall Hotel".

Darlington and Stockton Times: Raven Hall HotelRaven Hall Hotel (Image: TRIPADVISOR)

Before being purchased by Apartment Group, the building was in the ownership of Diane Uhalde and her family for the last 20 years, where it become a popular spot for holidaymakers.

However, The Apartment Group, who have a reputation for creating hospitality venues such as Runa Farm & Lartington Hall (County Durham), Newton Hall & Le Petit Chateau (Northumberland), and The Croft (Yorkshire), have now laid out their own proposals and vision for the site, which will undergo a £10m overhaul of the space. 

And Apartment Group CEO, Stuart Bailey believes the hotel could be "one of the most spectacularly unique hotels in Europe" in its decision to buy Raven Hall Hotel.

But those that have visited Raven Hall Hotel previously say that the revamp and name change at the venue are "unnecessary" and could spoil a "beautiful building".

Darlington and Stockton Times: Raven Hall HotelRaven Hall Hotel (Image: PA MEDIA)

One regular hotel guest, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: "The fact that The Apartment Group can take over and start ripping apart the venue is shocking. 

"We're afraid that the space will be unrecognisable and they will destroy the heritage".

However, CEO, Mr Bailey - has tried to calm fears by saying that he's working with heritage groups across North Yorkshire to develop the site.

He said: "We have considerable experience of working with heritage assets and listed buildings, and it is always immensely rewarding creating sustainable futures for these beautiful buildings.

"Raven Hall is such an iconic building, and although not listed we still have a strong commitment to preserve any heritage features.

"As soon as our experts have drawn up the proposed ideas, we will be inviting the local community along to hear their views and suggestions.

"The local community is tremendously important to us, and we want to be an integral part of it."

Alongside calming fears, Mr Bailey has also set out Grand Villa Heights will cater for far-travelling leisure guests, visiting families, weddings, corporate events, and general functions, but has insisted "there is still a vital place for our neighbourhood friends".

As part of 'making peace' with the neighbourhood, The Apartment Group has said it will introduce a Neighbourhood Discount Card, which will offer discounts for those that live nearby, alongside securing and offering job opportunities at Grand Villa Heights.

Addressing the name change at the venue, Mr Bailey added: "We will be rebranding the hotel as Grand Villa Heights. This transition will mark the commencement of a new era of luxury and excellence for this iconic destination.

"We don’t always do a complete name change and rebranding. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but when we have done this previously it has proved very successful and the right decision. In addition, this property has had a name change previously."

Another criticism of The Apartment Group from the community has been centred on using fireworks, which locals have called "damaging".

However, Mr Bailey and The Apartment Group have moved to rubbish claims it will be using fireworks at its wedding venues.

"It has been mentioned that we are promoting the use of fireworks at weddings. For the avoidance of doubt, despite the fact that we are allowed to have fireworks, there has always been a complete ban for at least 10 years on fireworks at all of our venues, out of respect for our rural neighbours – both human and wildlife," Mr Bailey added.