Struggling hotel demolition plan fails to win council support

PUBLISHED: 06:34 16 October 2019

Madeira Cove Hotel in Weston-super-Mare. Picture: Google

Madeira Cove Hotel in Weston-super-Mare. Picture: Google

Google

Plans to demolish a struggling Weston hotel to make way for 10 flats have gone to appeal.

Applicant Susan Steel said the mostly Victorian-era Madeira Cove Hotel is so dated it has become almost impossible to compete with more modern rivals.

North Somerset Council failed to reach a decision in time, prompting the appeal, but would have rejected the application to protect the conservation area.

Consultants Stoke Morgan, on behalf of Ms Steel, said the hotel, off Birnbeck Road, operates at a significant loss and would need a £250,000 investment to make it fit for the future. Converting the building is unviable but rebuilding it as 10 flats could turn a profit of £580,000, it added.

The firm said: "The Madeira Cove Hotel has come to the end of its useful life as a hotel.

"The hotel, built as two houses, has been altered and extended over the years and no longer meets the requirements of modern hotels.

"The proposed new building has been sensitively designed and would provide much needed housing in an excellent location.

"The decision to demolish and rebuild is not taken lightly and the impact on the conservation area has been considered."

A 2009 bid to level the site to build a dozen flats was rejected and the appeal thrown out due to the impact on the conservation area.

The council would have refused this more recent application for the same reason, with officers saying: "The building still contains a number of historic details and is not in a dilapidated state that would justify its complete loss."

They challenged Ms Steel's viability assessment and said she could profit if the hotel was converted into eight flats.

Cllr John Crockford-Hawley opposed the demolition of the hotel, saying the original designs were 'architecturally inept'. Revised proposals were submitted later.

Weston Civic Society said the application was 'virtually a repeat' of the previous scheme and should be rejected for the same reasons.

Historic England said the loss of the hotel would 'rob' the conservation area of a key building.

The Planning Inspectorate heard the appeal on October 8 and is expected to reach a decision in the coming weeks.

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