Hotel to be torn down for flats
PUBLISHED: 06:06 16 December 2019
A struggling hotel can be demolished and replaced by flats, a planning inspector has ruled, citing a lack of space for housing in Weston as a reason for giving the unpopular project the green light.
Madeira Cove Hotel, in Birnbeck Road, has been a fixture in Weston for decades, but its deteriorating condition has left it unable to trade successfully.
Applicant Susan Steel said it would require a £250,000 upgrade to survive, whereas knocking it down and building 10 flats could turn a profit of £580,000.
The scheme was opposed by North Somerset Council and Weston Civic Society, with both arguing the loss of a Victorian building for a new block of flats would harm the town's image.
But a planning appeal was heard in October and on December 4 it was announced the project can go ahead.
The scheme features a block of 10 flats, with the hotel and one flat being demolished to make room for it.
The council argued, unsuccessfully, a similar project could be carried out without tearing down the hotel.
However, the planning inspector said such an idea would not be as feasible as the council suggested.
Planning inspector Mr Bale said: "It would be desirable for the existing building to be retained as that outcome would preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area.
"However, there is no dispute that due to substantial alterations and investment required to bring the accommodation up to modern standards, the building cannot continue in its current use as a hotel."
He went on to say the scheme would bring accommodation into an area 'where there is an undisputed shortfall of housing'.
The council failed to make a decision quickly enough on Ms Steel's application, allowing her to launch an appeal. It contested the appeal and said it would have refused the scheme anyway.
The civic society was one of the most vociferous objectors to the project, saying it 'strongly opposed' the building's demolition.
The woman who lived in the flat also facing demolition backed the scheme, saying the building had gone 'past its usefulness'.
She cited problems with damp, drains and noise pollution.