Hotel owners win fight for flats

THE owners of a burnt-out hotel in Weston are said to be relieved after winning an appeal to convert their business into flats.

The Planning Inspectorate has backed Steven Cooney and Colin Gray’s appeal against North Somerset Council to allow the building of 41 apartments in Madeira Road.

Councillors on the authority’s west area committee had turned down the plans for the derelict Lynton House Hotel last December.

Going against their officers’ recommendations, they said the four-storey building would be overbearing, represent overdevelopment and cause parking problems. But planning inspector Dianne Wride thought otherwise.

She said, despite the proposal adding one metre to the building’s height, it was unlikely to cause any significant impact on neighbouring properties.

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She also said the size of development was in line with neighbouring businesses and said, although street parking was limited, there are available spaces and a pay and display car park nearby.

Both Mr Cooney and Mr Gray were on business abroad this week, but Mr Gray’s father David, who helps with security at the empty hotel, said they were both pleased with the decision.

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It comes following two failed attempts to get planning permission for the site, which was gutted by a fire in December 2008.

Mr Gray said: “I’ve been in contact with Steven and Colin and they’re both obviously relieved and delighted to finally get the approval. It’s been an extremely difficult two years since the fire, and the two have worked hard to set up a viable replacement for the hotel.

“These are tough financial times, so it is unclear when work will start, but the important thing is, it can.”

The derelict building was built in 1850 and was known as Victorian Villas until it was opened as the Lynton Private Hotel in 1928.

It closed following the fire, which damaged the roof and cracked the chimney.

The latest plan is to turn the building into 41 apartments, including 17 one-bedroom, 23 two-bedroom and one three-bedroom flats.

A separate decision is set to be made by the planning inspectorate on whether North Somerset Council should pick up the cost of the appeal.

If it does, district tax payers could face paying thousands of pounds toward the case.

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