Crumbling hotel to finally become flats?

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 June 2016

Lynton Hotel, Maderia Road.

Lynton Hotel, Maderia Road.

Archant

A dilapidated Weston-super-Mare hotel could be knocked down to make way for a new block of flats, after a new planning application was submitted.

The run-down Lynton House Hotel in Madeira Road has been targeted by squatters and arsonists as a long-running saga surrounding its uncertain fate has continued.

It was first built in 1850 as private housing when it was known as Victorian Villas, but was later reopened as the Lynton Private Hotel in 1928.

In May 2008, while the building was still operating as a hotel, a planning application was put to North Somerset Council to convert the site into 41 flats of mixed sizes.

But the council refused the plans, saying it would place an unreasonable strain on local facilities.

In December 2008 the roof and first floor of the building caught fire – the first of many blazes to take hold in the building.

Water and smoke damage to two-thirds of the bedrooms meant the hotel had to be closed over the busy Christmas period.

In March 2009, the hotel’s director Colin Grey told the Mercury the damage was extensive and as the insurance company would not pay for urgent repairs he was ‘helpless’ to stop the business from folding.

The hotel remained closed and another planning application for 41 flats was put to the council in 2009. By this time the building had become very worn, with birds nesting in the exposed roof.

But the council again refused the application in December 2009 due to a lack of off-street parking in the area and the imposing roof height.

The owners of the burnt-out hotel took the council to appeal with the Government’s planning inspectorate and won in November 2010.

Despite getting the green light on their plans, the owners admitted they did not know when building would start due to financial constraints. The building stayed empty and disused for a number of years, attracting squatters, arsonists and drug users.

In 2013, the owners put the hotel on the market in hopes of finding a developer willing to take it on.

In May 2015 another major fire ravaged the hotel and 50 firefighters battled overnight to get it under control.

Now, BZH Properties and Refresh Living No.4 have applied for planning permission to knock the whole building down and build 48 flats – 35 one-bedroom and 13 two-bedroom.

In the design and access statement, the applicant said: “The prospective new owners are a specialist build-to-rent company with a very successful record including developments in Yeovil and Taunton.

“North Somerset Council has posted a ‘dangerous structure’ notice in the property. It is now in a very poor state of repair and continues to deteriorate and cause a blight on the local area.

“The existing buildings are not listed but they are located in a conservation area. Although the villas at the front of the site are in such a precarious condition and have been designated a dangerous structure and demolition of these buildings cannot be avoided the proposals include the reinstatement of these villas to their original design.”

The nearby Dorville Hotel also has planning permission to become 20 flats.

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