Change of use and conversion of ground floor and rear outbuilding to additional staff accommodation for the Crown Hotel and create 3 No. parking spaces (demolish existing single storey rear outbuilding).
The Area Manager (Eastern) presented the application for the change of use and conversion of the ground floor and rear building to additional staff accommodation for the Crown Hotel, the creation of 3 parking spaces and demolition of the existing single storey rear outbuilding.
The application site was a Grade 2 listed building set within the settlement boundary of Blandford Forum, it was located in a high-risk flood zone and conservation area, surrounded by other listed buildings.
The ground floor had been vacant since 2009, the applicant had looked at alternative uses for the site and made extensive attempts to market the building at an appropriate price. The building was currently at risk so there was high importance to secure a use for it. There had been no objections in conservation terms. The building would be used to create three bedrooms, manager’s accommodation and a kitchen, there were plans to restore the building and maintain original features
Although situated in a high-risk flood zone there were no objections from the Environment Agency as the building would be tied to the Crown Hotel and would provide accommodation for staff working at the hotel.
The Area Manager (Eastern) concluded the presentation with a summary of the relevant planning considerations.
Oral representation in objection to the application was received from Cllr Carter of Blandford Town Council. The Town Council was not opposed to increasing accommodation within the town, nor the demolition of the building at the rear of the site but they felt that this was a prominent building which would be more attractive for alternative uses. If permission was granted it could start a precedent whereby more primary and secondary shopping areas could be lost.
Mr N Jones the agent addressed the committee on behalf of applicant. The application had come to Planning Committee for consideration only because the Town Council had objected. The building had not been used for over a decade and would continue to deteriorate and be un-used. Hall and Woodhouse, the applicant, were long residents and employers in the town.
In response to member questions regarding plans to repair or decorate the outside of the building the applicant confirmed that they would be looking at repairing and decorating the outside of the building.
Members felt that it was important to bring the building back to life and this was a good scheme, there was sympathy with the Town Council but the over-riding consideration was that the building could be put to good use and restored. They did not feel that the proposal would set a precedent and a flexible approach should be taken to empty properties, local companies should be supported in providing accommodation for their staff.
Proposed by Cllr V Pothecary and seconded by Cllr J Andrews.
Decision: that the application be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the appendix to these minutes, plus the addition of an informative note to the applicants to ensure the outside of the building was tidied up and decorated to bring it up to a standard that it merited.