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Hotel plan is turned down

PUBLISHED: 16:36 28 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:28 03 July 2010

Laura Bagshaw

PLANS to convert a Great Yarmouth hotel into 10 luxury apartments were refused this week with councillors claiming the premises was “valuable holiday stock” which the resort “could not afford to lose.

PLANS to convert a Great Yarmouth hotel into 10 luxury apartments were refused this week with councillors claiming the premises was “valuable holiday stock” which the resort “could not afford to lose.”

Dexter Bowers, who owns the Hazelhurst Hotel, at Norfolk Square, stressed to members of the borough council's development control committee that his hotel “is not and never has been” accommodation for holiday makers, instead claiming that it had operated as a commercial hotel for workers in the oil and gas industry.

During the meeting at the town hall on Tuesday Mr Bowers revealed after two failed lettings of the premises he had tried to operate as a hotel again but was running at a loss of £700 a week.

The proposals had been opposed by the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority who said the hotel, which falls into the secondary holiday area, was “valuable” hotel stock. A planning sub committee of the Sharp project, a regeneration scheme to improve the tourist area around Wellesley Road, also objected to the plans, claiming it would have an “adverse impact” on other hotels in the area.

Councillors shared this view with Conservative George Jermany saying the idea of the Sharp project was to build up the area not to fill it up with domestic accommodation. He said: “The bottom line is we should stick to the recommendation, this is a fragile area.”

Tory Bert Collins said the building was important to the future of that area. He said: “Things might not be too good now in the holiday industry but in a year or 18 months it might pick up.”

Mr Bowers said that his trade had been “decimated” when helicopter operators relocated to Norwich and that brand hotels like Travelodge had pulled customers away.

For the past four years the hotel has been let to two firms, both of which went bankrupt and failed to pay the rent. He added attempts to sell the hotel had also failed.

Mr Bowers added: “Last Friday I had a walk around the area and 37 of the 41 hotels were displaying vacancy signs, where are these holiday makers?”

The 10 two-bedroom apartments would furnished with “top of the range” fixtures and fittings and would be put on the market for £230,000, he added.

Speaking in support of the plans Labour councillor Mick Castle said it was an “attractive” building and said he could see no reason why converting the hotel into apartments would ruin the area.

“If this hotel has been on the market for three years the prognosis is not good. I think the Sharp planning committee should keep their noses out of this one. When I see someone like Mr Bowers say he can't make a living, I take what he says as true. There is nothing wrong with this application.”

However, speaking against the application, committee chairman Charles Reynolds, said: “The fact of the matter is we cannot afford to keep losing accommodation.”

Plans were voted down by 10 members, with just two voting in favour of the scheme.

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