Hotel with 'very negative' Tripadvisor reviews gets go ahead for flats

Green light for holiday flats plan in former Sea Princess annexe

The hotel annexe building at 5, North Drive can be turned into holiday flats planners have ruled. - Credit: Anthony Carroll

The owner of a hotel annexe on Great Yarmouth's seafront has won permission to turn it into holiday flats.

Janak Masrani has tried multiple times to convert the Regency Hotel at 5 North Drive, part of the recently rebranded Sea Princess Hotel, into residential flats.

Proposals were refused in 2017 and 2019, the most recent being dismissed on appeal by a Government planning inspector in September 2020 amid fears the loss of hotel beds would damage the tourism economy.

The latest application, which has been given the green light by planners at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, involves adding an upper storey and remodelling the 23 hotel rooms into 16 holiday flats.

A design and access statement submitted as part of a previous planning application stated the roof and most of the rooms were in need of complete repair, tagging the building "an eyesore."

There were two objections to the conversion plan, both fearing the move would lead to the hotel becoming "an HMO in all but name".

Reaching their decision planners said the building was in a prominent part of the seafront conservation area close to the historic Wellesley ground and that overall the new design was an improvement.

Their reports notes the "very negative" Tripadvisor reviews with "a few more positive ones, very much in the minority".

It adds: "The argument made is that allowing the loss of the tourism accommodation from the annex will allow investment in the main hotel, but there is no method of guarantee of this.

"In planning terms decisions must not consider the economic health of the existing property owner, rather whether the policy requirement remains of weight in regard to the demand for holiday rooms in this holiday town."

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The hotel was previously called The Hadleigh Gables, before rebranding as The Sea Princess. More recently it has changed its name to The Majestic.

The approval notice states the accommodation units shall be used for holiday purposes only and no unit shall be occupied for more than 28 days at any one time without the prior written approval of the local planning authority.