A "quality hotel" moving into one of Birmingham's finest historic buildings could rival London's world famous Claridge's, planners have been told.

The plans will also see Birmingham's landmark Methodist Central Hall fully repaired and reused after years of deterioration and neglect - and see it removed from the national Historic England's Heritage 'at risk' register.

City councillors were unanimous as they approved plans to convert the distinctive 115-year-old hall into a 147-bed hotel, with ground floor shops and restaurants and a basement nightclub.

Ciel Capital is developing the building and has struck a deal with operator Dream Hotel Group to move in with its Unscripted brand. It is the American luxury hotel group's first UK venture.

CGI of plans to renovate Methodist Central Hall in Birmingham
CGI of plans to renovate Methodist Central Hall in Birmingham

New images released of Birmingham landmark restoration

The Methodist Church gave up the hall in 1991 when it was converted into the giant Q nightclub.

Over the last 15 years, it has been mostly closed and successive plans to convert it into offices or flats have never progressed from drawing board.

Ciel chief executive Vedrana Riley told the planning committee they purchased the hall last year.

She said: "This is the renovation and rejuvenation of the iconic Methodist Central Hall. Our team has been working tirelessly with planning officers to develop the best plan possible.

"The hall has sadly fallen into a state of disrepair. This will bring it back into constructive use and remove it from the Heritage At Risk register."

Objectors had complained about the opening of a basement nightclub and over intensive use of the building.

They highlighted the murder of a nightclubber in 2008 and feared a return of rowdy behaviour and nuisance.

The Central Methodist Hall on Corporation Street in Birmingham city centre in 2008
The Central Methodist Hall on Corporation Street in Birmingham city centre in 2008

But Ms Riley responded that the basement club would be a much smaller affair and had the backing of Birmingham's live music community.

Planning committee members brushed aside the objectors and were delighted that the building, with an iconic clock tower, will be restored.

Coun Gareth Moore (Con Erdington) described it as an architectural gem, adding: "It's use as a quality hotel is a good one, I am sure it will be well used and successful."

Sketch of plans to renovate Methodist Central Hall
Sketch of plans to renovate Methodist Central Hall

Coun Peter Douglas Osborn (Con Weoley) added: "I'm sure it will compete with Claridge's."

Methodist Central Hall was designed by Ewan Harper & James A. Harper and built in 1904.

Its distinctive tower and terracotta exterior has made it a city landmark.

Council leader Ian Ward said: "This exciting development will give the beautiful building a new lease of life.

"Big things are happening in Birmingham at the moment and the new Central Hall is a spectacular mixture of the old and the new.

"The project will also create jobs and training opportunities for the people of this city."

Jason Wischhoff, vice-president development for Europe for Dream Hotel Group, said: "This step marks Dream Hotel Group's first entrance into the European market, building off our success in the United States, South East Asia and across the globe.

"It's an exciting time in Birmingham, with preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games under way and, once complete, the new hotel will add another jewel to the city's crown."

Vedrana Bilanovic Riley, chief executive of Ciel Capital, added: "We are delighted to have received planning permission for our plans for the former Methodist Central Hall.

"The project team has been working hard over the past few months to ensure that our plans deliver a sensitive restoration of the iconic building and we look forward to getting started."