Casebook: Appeal Case - Housing; conversion - Hotel loss judged no threat to tourist economy

The conversion of a hotel in Kent to form six dwellings has been permitted after an inspector decided that its loss would not undermine the local tourist economy.

The property comprised a three-storey 19th century building with a two-storey extension built in the 1980s. It contained 18 guest bedrooms and enjoyed spacious grounds to the rear. It had been under the management of three owners since 1991 and had experienced a continual decline in occupancy and profitability.

The inspector noted that the hotel lay close to the High Weald area of outstanding natural beauty and to the south coast. Although there had been some loss of hotel accommodation in the area, studies carried out by the tourist board indicated that the provision of new types of accommodation meant that existing and predicted demand appeared to be well catered for.

The property had not been refurbished or maintained in recent years and the fabric had fallen into disrepair. Goodwill and reputation would need to be rebuilt because it had been closed to guests for two years, the inspector agreed. He considered that the business was unlikely to become economically viable and substantial investment would be required to bring it back to an appropriate standard.

DCS No: 100039819; Inspector: Paul Jackson; Inquiry.

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