Hotel verdict is defended

COUNCIL planners have defended their decision to deviate from policy and allow redevelopment of the Moorlands Hotel site after saying ‘no’ to another developer.

Earlier this year Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) gave approval to plans from the Mulgrave Estate to demolish the hotel on the West Cliff and build town houses.

However, the Gazette was contacted by a local property developer who said just 12 months ago he had agreed a price with the then owners of the building to buy it but had to pull out.

He claims he had to abandon the deal after being advised by SBC’s planning department there was no way permission for changing the hotel to residential would be allowed.

SBC’s area planning manager, Marcus Whitmore, said there had been several approaches about redevelopment of the site for housing.

Developers were told the council couldn’t look positively on redevelopment proposals because the L5 policy resists the loss of hotels with more than 30 bed spaces.

But after the property had been marketed for some time, an internal inspection revealed if it was brought up to modern day standards it would have less than 30 bedrooms and would fall under the threshold for re-development.

He added: “The criteria allow for redevelopment where the proposal would result in a significant environmental improvement or benefit to the character of a prime holiday area.

“The quality of the scheme put forward by the applicant – which included 33% affordable homes – was considered to be an appropriate redevelopment of the site and was approved by the planning committee.”