Former owners reveal wish to reopen demolition-threatened Sheringham hotel (but new owners have their own plans)
- Credit: NNDC
The former owners of a demolition-threatened seafront property in Sheringham have revealed they would waste no time in renovating the derelict building if they were granted permission to reopen it as a hotel and restaurant.
They claim plans to knock down The Shannocks - which sits in a conservation area - could harm the resort's reputation as 'North Norfolk's premier seaside town'.
However, P J De La Borda & T C Sands conceded attempts to buy back the former hotel from current owners Huddies Ltd, which has submitted its own plans to develop the High Street property, have failed.
They were responding to alternative plans lodged by North Norfolk District Council to demolish the local landmark and develop the site, together with the neighbouring car park, into a new apartment block made up of 10 two-bedroom properties above four commercial units.
The local authority made the move following concerns over the length of time the hotel has lain empty. It has set aside almost £500,000 for a compulsory purchase order to buy the site from Huddies Ltd if it fails to act.
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However, the Beeston Regis-based company has submitted its own plans to demolish the seaside property and replace it with a three-story development on the site of the current hotel, with ground floor retail units, a first-floor restaurant, and residential apartments on the upper floors.
In their submission to NNDC's plans, lodged on Tuesday, P J De La Borda & T C Sands said: 'As a previous owner of this premises, we are very confident that this is completely unnecessary and, in fact, detrimental to the tourist industry in Sheringham.
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'In Sheringham there is a serious lack of hotel accommodation, particularly with the recent closure of the Burlington Hotel and the Beaumaris Hotel.
'We would be prepared to purchase this building and fully renovate the outside immediately to its former state without demolition or alteration. We would also run The Shannocks as a restaurant and hotel, which is financially viable as we have previously run the property as such, and would provide several jobs within the local community.
'We have, over the course of time in which Huddies Ltd has owned this property, approached the company on four occasions with a view to either purchase or lease the property, however this has been flatly refused.
'We hope you take this into full consideration when considering the planning application and indeed if a compulsory purchase order has to be made we would be willing to purchase the property which would ease the burden on the public (purse).'
Huddies Ltd's own plans, which don't include the neighbouring 26-space council-owned car park, have attracted an objection from Historic England on heritage grounds. The public body that looks after the country's historic environment also questioned the need to demolish the building.
Voicing its own objection to NNDC's plans for the site, a spokesperson for Huddies Ltd said: 'The company submitted an application for full planning permission for the redevelopment of its property in February, and we are concerned that there has been no apparent rethink at North Norfolk District Council, which has pursued its alternative proposals as a purely academic exercise at very considerable expense to local ratepayers.
'The company intends to object to the application on the grounds that it violates Policy EC6, which holds that an application for planning permission will be impermissible if it results in a loss of important public parking provision, unless suitably located alternatives are provided prior to the application.
'The council's application has made no attempt to provide alternative public parking and the loss of the Chequers Car Park to commercialisation, which is strongly opposed by the town, will detrimentally impact upon public access to the seafront and the viability of the northern end of the high street.
'Many people will be placed at considerable disadvantage in accessing the seafront by the loss of the Chequers car park, and this contravention of Policy EC6 is especially unfair to those people.'