Fire hotel set to be developed into flats

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 July 2011

Bayside Hotel fire - picture by Mercury reader David Oxendale

Bayside Hotel fire - picture by Mercury reader David Oxendale

Archant

A DERELICT hotel destroyed by fire is set to be demolished and replaced with a four-storey apartment block, the Mercury can reveal.

Mystery had surrounded the future of the Bayside Hotel, in Upper Church Road, after it was hit by a fire last month.

The blaze left the boarded-up hotel, which closed five years ago, structurally unsafe and a target for squatters.

This week, however, Bayside Developments has revealed itself as owner of the site and outlined an intention to redevelop it ‘as soon as possible’.

Following structural reports on the building, the developer has made enquiries about submitted a planning application for 14 apartments to replace the hotel wreck.

Agent for the developer, Kit Stokes, told the Mercury: “The developer wants to demolish the site and redevelop it as soon as possible.

“Progress on this has been made since it purchased the hotel six months ago, but the fire and pressure from the council has accelerated the process.

“The plan is to pull down the hotel and replace it with 14 apartments in a four-storey building.”

As part of the planning process, the developer must prove there is no significant heritage value to the building before pulling it down because it lies in a conservation area.

Mr Stokes said: “The developer has chosen to go for flats because of the current hotel market in the town.

“There was obviously a reason why this hotel closed in 1996 and it is believed apartments are a more viable option.”

The plans are likely to come as a relief for residents living near the hotel who have long complained about the building’s decline.

The hotel, opened originally as the Cairo Lodge in the 1930s, had squatters living inside and was reportedly full of wild animals including cats and rats.

Today, however, floorboards, windows and furniture are all missing and it is surrounded by two-metre-high fencing.

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