Bay hotel ground floor could become co-op

PLANS to transform the ground floor of an iconic hotel have been approved after a planning inspector overturned a decision by Wealden District Council.

A planning inspector allowed an appeal to proposals to replace the Bay Hotel’s bar and restaurant in Pevensey Bay with a supermarket to be taken over by the co-op.

The plans, which had proved controversial among local residents, were rejected (against officials’ advice) by Wealden District Council’s Planning Committee South in October last year.

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The application was denied for three reasons: concerns about road safety; the impact on the historical significance of the building; and loss of community property.

However, none of these concerns were confirmed by the Planning Inspector. After a public hearing last month, the inspector concluded that there was no evidence of the road safety concerns and that the impact on the building’s heritage was minimal.

They also refuted the argument that losing the bar/restaurant or the new shop would affect community wealth in Pevensey Bay.

The inspector said: “I appreciate that local people feel that the proposed change of use would result in the permanent loss of a valuable asset. However, there are other pubs and restaurants in the village that continue to operate.

“The proposal would therefore not leave the village without places for people to meet, socialize, eat or drink together. The loss of the hotel’s bar and restaurant may have limited the range of facilities available, but it has not affected the community’s ability to meet their day-to-day needs.

“A resistance to the change of use was not justified under these circumstances.”

Against this background, the inspector allowed the appeal and overturned the original decision of the council.

Despite this, the immediate future of the plans remains uncertain. In a speech in July, hotel owner George Macari said he plans to sell the property regardless of the outcome of the appeal.

He said the move arose out of a desire to clear the way for a joint bid to take over the hotel. Bay hotel ground floor could become co-op

Fry Electronics Team

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