Hotel's bid for nine holiday lodges 'to compete with Airbnb'

Links Hotel, West Runton.; PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The Links Hotel in West Runton has submitted a bid to build nine lodges in its grounds. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

A 19th century hotel is seeking permission to build a cluster of holiday lodges in its grounds so it can "compete with Airbnb" and 21st century holidaymakers' habits.

The Links Hotel in West Runton, which is part of the Mackenzie Hotel Group, has submitted a bid to construct nine lodges on land overlooking its golf course next to the Norwich to Sheringham railway line.

The application follows a previous bid to build six lodges in the hotel grounds which was refused in 2017 for a number of reasons including because it was felt the lodges would have a "significant detrimental impact on the special qualities of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)."

Following the failed bid, the hotel has worked with North Norfolk District Council to submit a new application for nine lodges, of two different designs, one aimed at families and a second at couples, erected 300m from the main 52-bedroom hotel, in a different area to the previous submission.

The lodge design for The Links Hotel in West Runton

How the lodges, The Links Hotel in West Runton hopes to build, will look. - Credit: Chaplin Farrant

The wooden lodges are designed to help "diversify" the main hotel's income by providing facilities for extended family groups and to help it to "compete with other forms of accommodation including Air bnb."

They will feature an open plan design, with large patio doors so guests can "bring the outside in" and will have "views across the golf course" but will not be overlooked by neighbours.

It is also hoped the new lodges will help create six new jobs at The Links and help "safeguard 130 existing jobs" across the Mackenzie Group Hotels, all of which are in North Norfolk.

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Marc Mackenzie, one of the directors of the Mackenzie Hotel Group, said he had seen the holiday market change a lot over the last decade, shifting from full board to room-only bookings, something he put down to generational changes and the rise of Airbnb.

Mr Mackenzie said: "All of that has put a huge strain on the traditional hotels and the proof in the pudding is how many hotels have shut down along the coast in recent years, there aren't any hotels in Sheringham now and there used to be several.

He said the group was "trying to diversify the business" and "safeguard the future" of the hotel."

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