Lack of services payment holds up hotel change

An inspector has accepted that conversion of a listed Kent hotel to 17 flats would not diminish the stock of tourist accommodation in the area but rejected the appeal due to the lack of a legal agreement to provide infrastructure and facilities.

The five-storey property contained 28 letting bedrooms, a function room and a bar. The inspector found the parties' estimates of future supply and demand speculative. He was in no doubt, however, that investment was needed to give the hotel a realistic prospect of competing successfully.

The appellant said that despite spending £150,000 on refurbishment, revenues had declined and the hotel made a loss. The inspector agreed that even if marketing was better, the hotel was not viable in its current form.

He gave significant weight to the benefits of securing alterations to improve the character and setting of the heritage asset and its potential contribution to meeting housing needs. However, he agreed that the scheme would impose additional demands on local services. Without a legal agreement, he concluded that it would have a materially harmful effect on infrastructure and facilities.

Inspector: Christopher Bowden; Hearing

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