Planning inspector rejects hotel owner’s appeal to turn ‘eyesore’ building into flats

The Sea Princess in North Drive where questions have been raised about quality. Picture: Archant

The Sea Princess in North Drive where questions have been raised about quality. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

The Planning Inspectorate has rejected a seafront hotel owner’s appeal to turn his “eyesore” holiday accommodation into residential flats over fears it would damage the tourist economy.

The Sea Princess Hotel in North Drive, Great Yarmouth, has been denied planning permission from the

The Sea Princess Hotel in North Drive, Great Yarmouth, has been denied planning permission from the Secretary of State to turn part of the building into ten residential flats. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Google Maps

Janak Masrani proposed to convert one of two buildings which make up The Sea Princess Hotel on North Drive, Great Yarmouth, into 10 flats.

But it was refused by Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s development control committee in October 2019, citing fears of “overdevelopment”, and the plans’ incompatibility with holiday accommodation policies.

Now, Mr Masrani’s appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, challenging the borough council’s refusal, has also been dismissed.

In response, Mr Masrani said: “Of course I am disappointed with the decision that’s been made, but I do not wish to comment further at this stage.”

The Sea Princess on Great Yarmouth's North Drive has unveiled a transformation aimed at driving up s

The Sea Princess on Great Yarmouth's North Drive has unveiled a transformation aimed at driving up standards. The hotel drew a string of complaints about the rooms, but hopes the makeover will help it to turn a corner and earn some industry stars Picture: Sea Princess - Credit: Archant

Inspector Jonathan Price, in a decision notice issued on August 27, said Mr Masrani’s plans to turn part of the annexe building into flats would conflict with Great Yarmouth’s role as “one of the nation’s main seaside holiday resorts”.

In the document, Mr Price outlined that the property is within a primary holiday accommodation area, designated in the 2001 Great Yarmouth borough-wide local plan.

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This policy, known as “HOU22”, says “the conversion of use of properties to permanent residential uses within primary holiday accommodation areas will not be permitted... in an effort to preserve prime holiday accommodation”.

Under the “reasons” for which Mr Price dismissed the appeal, he said that increasing residential development would come at the expense of hotel frontage.

Improvements have been unveiled inside and out at Great Yarmouth's Sea Princess Hotel which has prev

Improvements have been unveiled inside and out at Great Yarmouth's Sea Princess Hotel which has previously attracted complaints. Picture: Sea Princess - Credit: Archant

But a design and access statement submitted as part of the planning application, which Mr Masrani lodged in July 2018, said sales from flats would drive investment in the main hotel, adding: “At the moment both buildings are an eyesore”.

It goes on: “With the amount of profits made it is impossible to cover any ‘wear and tear’ let alone any badly needed renovations to keep in line as to what the tourists need and the expectations of Great Yarmouth Borough Council as decent accommodation.

“Please refer to comments made on Trip Advisor and Booking.com - The Sea Princess Hotel is badly in need of repair and renovations.”

Between June 2017 and May 2019, 23 reports were made to environmental health officers at the borough council regarding the Sea Princess Hotel, with complaints of bed bugs, leaky roofs and a rat in the kitchen.