�20m hotel in Hemsby will be ‘ray of sunshine’ for tourist trade

A �20m hotel to be built at a Hemsby holiday park has been hailed as a 'ray of sunshine' for the tourist economy.

Owners of Seacroft Holiday Village and Hemsby Beach Holiday Park got the green light to build a 260-bed hotel and place 267 new caravans this week.

Planning councillors at Great Yarmouth Borough Council unanimously approved plans, which they say will give a much-needed lift as the former Pontin's site remains empty.

Gordon Craig, of Hemsby Parish Council, said: 'This proposal has been ever so well received in the village. We've been scared stiff as the holiday industry provides an awful lot of work, some of it part-time but still work.

'Now somebody has �20m to spend in Hemsby. This seems to us like a shot in the arm and a lifeline which will make Hemsby buzz again.'

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Bruce Hart, of the Paul Robinson Partnership architects, told Tuesday's meeting the site was 'somewhat tired' and the investment will 'bring it into the 21st century.'

The Beach Road development will see an increase of more than 100 rooms, and a shift to all-year opening - providing a boost to the 50 workers currently on seasonal contracts.

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Ten permanent staff are employed.

Charles Reynolds, councillor for Ormesby ward, said: 'Hemsby has been down in the doldrums since the closure of Pontin's and this is very exciting for Hemsby and Great Yarmouth, as some 70pc of Hemsby visitors also visit Yarmouth.

'This is not a multi-national firm but a family company that has consistently re-invested in the area.

'Anybody involved in tourism isn't feeling too bright at the moment, but this is a ray of sunshine.'

Old-fashioned 'sheds' at the Seacroft will be demolished to make way for the two-storey hotel, but some King's Loke residents fear their properties will be overlooked.

Resident Peter Hills said: 'We totally support development of the site, but what we don't need is the hotel itself opposite our property.'

He feared noise and light pollution and extra traffic on the roads, and suggested owners look to build the hotel elsewhere on their site - further away from houses.

But the architects said lines of trees will be in place, and plans to move the car park and reception further into the site will reduce noise pollution.

Shirley Weymouth, councillor for East Flegg ward, said: 'For someone to have so much confidence to spend this much money in the area is fabulous.'

Building will begin next winter with construction phased over 10 years.

The hotel will be built in wings of between 24 and 36 rooms.

George Jermany, councillor for East Flegg ward, said: 'It shows vision and confidence and when one person pulls their socks up, the others follow suit.'

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