Fears over future of Corton stores after extension for hotel bedrooms approved
- Credit: Archant
Fears have been raised over the future of a popular coastal village shop and hairdressers after a holiday park firm said it planned to terminate the stores' existing lease agreements.
Tingdene was forced to change its plans to remove existing retail space to make way more hotel bedrooms at its Waterside Holiday Park in Corton, near Lowestoft after objections over the loss of neighbourhood facilities.
Its revised application for a first-floor extension to provide 10 new hotel bedrooms was approved by Waveney District Council's planning committee last night after Tingdene agreed to retain the existing retail area on the ground floor.
But councillors who gave it the go-ahead said they did so reluctantly after hearing that the firm 'intend to terminate the existing lease agreements' on approval of the application.
Tingdene now plans to market the ground floor space with the aim of securing better rent levels – or put in another application for a change of use should it not find anyone willing to pay those levels in six months.
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A spokesman for the company said it had effectively subsidised businesses on the site by allowing them to rent out units at lower than market rent levels for several years.
It also stressed that the application being considered by councillors last night did not propose removing any retail space.
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WDC officers assured councillors that should Tingdene return with a change of use application in six months, it would have to meet strict legal criteria to show they have marketed the units for a reasonable, affordable price.
But after a large number of residents objected to the proposals, Corton district councillor Mary Rudd said: 'Surely the voice of the people should be taken into consideration.
'A large company should not be allowed to ignore the wishes of the local people.
'If the application is allowed, what future is there for our villages?'
The Rev Roger Key, vicar at St Bartholomew Church in Corton, said: 'I don't judge this application to be of benefit to anyone other than the landlord.'
He added that an increased footfall and traffic to the site would harm the area, adding: 'The village doesn't need further accommodation facilities.'