Iconic Southwold Swan Hotel car park extension approved despite residents’ protests
- Credit: Nick Butcher
An iconic hotel's car park extension has been given the go-ahead – despite protests from residents that it could cause 'very serious damage and danger' to a conservation area.
Brewer Adnams' bid for a new two-way access point to the Swan Hotel in Southwold from Victoria Street was approved after councillors agreed it would be much safer than the current Market Place entrance.
Yet Ian Graham, a member of Waveney District Council's planning committee – which unanimously approved the bid that is part of a £4million project – said: 'It improves the front of the building for everyone but it puts the problem to the back of the building.
'That's not good for the residents.'
Victoria Street resident John Hedges spoke at tonight's meeting to warn councillors it would be 'most unwise to grant approval', calling it a 'flawed application'.
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He claimed reports prepared ahead of the meeting did not take into account the full extent of traffic movements and noise, for example from car doors opening and shutting.
He added: 'It will have a substantial impact in a conservation area.
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'It will cause very serious damage and danger to residents in Victoria Street.'
However Adnams chief executive Andy Wood, who also spoke at the meeting, said: 'Southwold is an integral part of our identity.
'It's inconceivable that we'd do anything to harm the town. We would clearly be shooting ourselves in the foot.'
He said it was important to invest in the facility to safeguard jobs for people in Waveney and pointed to a number of concessions made by the brewer ahead of the meeting.
They included restricting the use of the car park to hotel guests only – meaning that deliveries will continue to go to the Market Place entrance – and installing Cambridge-style rising bollards to limit traffic.
He also agreed to reduce the size of the car park by one or two spaces to ensure there is enough room for vehicles entering the car park.
Those concessions got a positive response from Southwold Town Council, which supported the plans on the basis of the changes being made to the original application.
Planning committee member John Groom said: 'I can only see that this is going to improve the whole thing.'
Councillor Norman Brooks added: 'It does seem that Adnams have tried their best to address the issues regarding exit and entry.'
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