Over the last few months, the Mercure hotel in Nottingham has been hosting a Nightingale Court as a way to generate income. The contract with the Justice Department was to run until June, but now it has been extended until the end of the year and the hotel is not in a position to refuse. So, regrettably, we will not be able to hold Novacon 50 here for what would have been our 12th year!
The good news is that we have found a new venue, which is the Palace Hotel in Buxton, Derbyshire on the edge of the Peak District. Located opposite the train station, it is an imposing Victorian listed building which has been nicely refurbished. All the function rooms, the bars and toilets are on the ground floor and there is plenty of lounge area. The whole thing is light and airy with high ceilings and some impressive decor. And a conservatory. And the longest continuous wrought-iron bannister in Britain, or was it Europe? And possibly a ghost. There are several fully-accessible bedrooms and some family rooms. Room rates are actually a bit cheaper than last year, being £60pppn for a single and £45pppn for a double/twin.
Needless to say, we are still planning an in-person convention and will soon start taking room bookings. As it’s a new venue we would appreciate it if you could book your room as soon as possible. Booking will continue to be via Novacon website/Membership Secretary and a booking form can be be downloaded from the Venue/Room Reservation page.
Alice & Tony
Hopefully things will have improved but there may still be coronavirus restrictions in place when Novacon happens. Right now, we cannot be clear about what government and the venue will require because things keep changing rapidly. Therefore, we can’t produce a risk assessment or policy until much closer to the day. We are monitoring the situation and will liaise with the hotel as well. When we have better information, we will assess and inform you.
Based on government guidance in force at the time, the hotel will decide what COVID-secure measures are acceptable for entry to their premises, moving around and using their services, such as function space, communal areas, bar, restaurant and rooms. These may include any or none of: one-way routes, social distancing, wearing masks in programme items or when moving around the hotel, hygiene measures, room capacities, and so forth and will not be optional.
The Palace Hotel is currently operating in line with all English hospitality venues and you can see their current arrangements here: COVID 19 Coronavirus Updates | Britannia Hotels
We will assess any additional risks created by our programme, events, displays and so on when we’ve finalised the plans.
We strongly encourage everyone who can get vaccinated to do so.
We have a committee member (Dave Hicks) who is a health and safety professional and a large part of his job for the past fourteen months has been writing (and re-writing) COVID risk assessments and safety measures. The hotel will also use professional advisors when deciding how they will operate come November.
David P Hicks, BA (Hons), DipNEBOSH, GradIOSH, ISO 18001 Lead Auditor and winner of 3 Nova Awards.