Neighbours fear flats will be a 'ghetto

RESIDENTS living opposite a derelict hotel in Weston are worried it could be transformed into a 'human battery house' where

RESIDENTS living opposite a derelict hotel in Weston are worried it could be transformed into a 'human battery house' where people will 'lay bad eggs'.Bristol Family Housing, which owns the former Dorville Hotel in Madeira Road, wants to demolish the existing building and replace it with four or five storeys of 'lower end' flats.The proposals also incorporate the Georgian villa next door and include plans for basement parking.Muriel Freeman, who lives in South Road opposite the Dorville Hotel site, says she and her neighbours fear the area could be developed into a 'ghetto'.She said: "There is a concern that it will be social housing and the impact on the neighbourhood would therefore be enormous."It would be a human battery house where they will lay bad eggs."The hotel is also a prime site. I have been inside and the views across the bay are some of the best. My immediate neighbours feel exactly as I do. We have had five years of shilly-shallying around."Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate Mike Bell has led calls for action at the site for years.He said: "The Dorville is a landmark building in the Birnbeck area and it is a scandal that it has been allowed to decay for so long. "What really gets my back up is that people from outside Weston come in and buy up sites like the Dorville and then do nothing with them for years on end. "The owners have dragged their feet and done nothing and now, after years of waiting, local residents must put up with a new planning application for a downmarket block of flats."Since the Dorville Hotel was sold in 1998 to Bristol Family Housing it has been used as a hostel for the homeless. More recently, the company submitted an application to build 22 luxury apartments there.A spokesman for the company said: "The site is not going to be predominantly social housing. We did put in an application to turn it into luxury flats and it was granted. But at the last minute the council put in some restrictions on the planning permission."We do still intend to object against the conditions but in the meantime we have also submitted an application to build a larger block of flats."We are required to offer some affordable housing but we haven't yet negotiated this and some local authorities will accept cash instead."When we talk about the lower end of the market we mean housing for first time buyers and people who are not the wealthy members of society."Members of the public have been invited to view the latest plans for the Dorville Hotel at the site on Tuesday from 4-7pm. For more details call consultant Avril Baker on 01179 772002 or email

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