Controversial Lyme Regis hotel application approved


A CONTROVERSE planning application to convert a garage into a ten bedroom hotel in Lyme Regis has been approved by West Dorset District Council.

The bid for the Coombe Street hotel proposal was discussed by the development control committee on Thursday, August 14 – but the city council recommended rejecting the offer.

The proposal includes modifications and an extension of the existing garage to create a ten-room hotel while retaining the existing parking facilities.

A spokesperson for West Dorset District Council said: “The application has been approved, but the design of the street front has been changed slightly to simplify it and reduce glazing.

“Modifications have been made to some of the roofing materials and photovoltaic panels have been integrated. The number of skylights has also been reduced.

The hotel is envisioned as a hotel where minimal surveillance is required; with claimants claiming that clients could book accommodation over the internet and that no dining would be required as clients would eat locally.

It is claimed that the program would also create jobs through the maintenance and cleaning of hotels.

The request said the site was “in the heart of the city” across from listed residential properties and close to a souvenir shop, photo gallery and the town’s mill.

Larry Gibbons, owner of the Largigi restaurant and attached garage with his wife Gina, said the request was met with a “unanimous vote” for approval at the board meeting.

He added: “We are delighted and very happy that the application has been accepted.

“Last Thursday, it had been a year to the day since we first submitted the planning request and it took that long to materialize.

“This will be good news for the people of Lyme and will benefit everyone; because I think this hotel will be the first one built since the last Lyme hotel closed.

“It has certainly not been easy and it will now be a case of slow but sure progress; we hope to start building early next year.

Planning issues discussed by councilors included increasing the number of hotels in the city, the effect on the character of the conservation area and on the setting of listed buildings and residential amenities.

Lyme Regis City Council recommended denying the request due to the “overdevelopment” of the site.

City councilors were particularly concerned about the possible increase in road traffic and the lack of parking for service vehicles – describing “Coombe Street as” already very congested “.

The city council also said that although described as a hotel, the proposed facility provided no reception areas, services, public spaces, storage areas and appeared to “resemble a bed complex.”

Four letters of objection were received with concerns regarding loss of privacy, loss of daylight due to the size of the building, potential light pollution, nighttime noise and more.

A letter received from the Lyme Regis Society suggests that approval should specify that “no change in future use will be permitted without a realistic assessment of the market”.

However, the report summarized that the program offered an “innovative approach” to providing affordable hotel accommodation in a “sustainable city center location”.

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