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Decision delayed on flats plan for former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 11:59 17 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:44 17 October 2020

Plans to turn the old Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft into flats have been pushed back. Picture: MICK HOWES

Plans to turn the old Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft into flats have been pushed back. Picture: MICK HOWES

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Plans to turn a Lowestoft seaside hotel empty for more than a decade into flats and a cafe have been deferred because of concerns over parking, bins and the size of the homes.

East Suffolk councillor Peter Byatt said the hotel desperately needed a revamp but did not want 'rabbit hutch' homes to be squeezed in. Picture: MAXINE CLARKEEast Suffolk councillor Peter Byatt said the hotel desperately needed a revamp but did not want 'rabbit hutch' homes to be squeezed in. Picture: MAXINE CLARKE

East Suffolk Council’s planning north committee this week asked developers behind the old Royal Court Hotel in London Road South to tweak plans for 16 flats and a cafe to address concerns over the provision of only eight parking spaces, and bin storage.

MORE: Empty hotel plans recommended for approval

According to councillors, the bin collection arrangements in London Road were already a problem, while questions were also raised about the size of some of the flats proposed.

The plans have already been revised down from the 29 flats originally proposed when plans were first lodged in March.

Councillor Jenny Ceresa said: “I would absolutely love to see something done for this building.

Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft. Picture: REECE HANSONRoyal Court Hotel in Lowestoft. Picture: REECE HANSON

“It’s been empty more than three years or so however I don’t think this is the right application for this development.

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“It’s over-development – the metreage for the buildings is too small, there isn’t enough parking, I don’t think there is sufficient bin storage.”

Raising concerns over the size of some of the flats – particularly the one-bedroom properties, councillor Peter Byatt said: “We don’t want rabbit hutches but we do desperately need to develop this site.”

The plans had been recommended for approval but councillors unanimously voted to defer a decision so that the developers, Lowestoft Court Apartments Ltd, can work with the council’s planning team to iron out those issues.

Safdar Khan, managing director of Lowestoft Court Apartments Ltd, said the cafe would be a vegan and vegetarian cafe to meet demand for those diners, and could provide more parking at other nearby developments.

MORE: Planning permission secured for East Point Pavilion revamp

He added: “I was encouraged and excited to invest in the regeneration of Lowestoft by working with the likes of Wayne Hemingway at Hemingway Design, Lowestoft Vision and other local partners on this.

“I want to deliver a project that will benefit Lowestoft both socially and economically.

“I am firmly of the view this will contribute to the regeneration of the locality, and bring about numerous public benefits such as bringing this long-abandoned site into use and reducing the opportunity for anti-social behaviour.”

The plans are expected to come back to the committee later in the year, with the developers keen to commence work “as soon as possible”.


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