HMO or flats divide councils but what happens to rest of hotel?

Elme Hall Hotel HMO bid

Completed in 2012, the 34 bedroom Elme Hall Hotel lodge will be flats or an HMO depending on which council you ask. - Credit: Elme Hall Hotel

A 34-bedroom lodge in the grounds of Elme Hall Hotel could become an HMO (house in multiple occupation) or 34 flats depending on which council you ask. 

Planning authority West Norfolk Council agreed with the applicant, Stevenage property developer Danny Conetta, to describe it as change of use from a hotel to a large HMO.  

Fenland Council – consultees – believe it is the wrong description.  

Senior development officer Nick Thrower says that “in general, an HMO would require the occupants to share certain key facilities, normally kitchen, bathroom, toilets etc.  

“The plans effectively show 34 self-contained flats, with an on-site laundry that does not appear large enough.” 

Loss of hotel bedrooms “will be detrimental to the tourism and business travel offer of Wisbech”. 

And he also queried what will happen to the main hotel building and its galleried ballroom.  

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“The proposal will be likely to impact on the attractiveness of the remaining part of the hotel to tourist and business travellers and reduce the viability of business,” says Mr Thrower.  

Fenland Council believes Mr Conetta’s proposals for the bin and bike store “are detrimental to the street scene and should be relocated.”  

The council says it is also reasonable to conclude that each flat could be occupied by two people creating an occupancy of 68 for the building.  

Mr Thrower highlights other concerns about parking and cycle racks – both labelled as substandard. 

In addition, he feels the proposed change of use appears to make no provision for external amenity space for its proposed occupants.  

“The scheme is considered to provide inadequate levels of parking for the scale of the proposal,” he says. 

“It does not provide high levels of residential amenity due to a lack of external private space for the residents.” 

Emneth parish council is also concerned as to “exactly will be living there and who will be managing the tenants/occupiers”. 

Elme Hall Hotel –set in nearly three acres –was built in the 1980s. It was recently advertised for sale with offers in the region of £1.9m.  

Mr Conetta has promised CCTV will be installed to all communal areas, management will be qualified, and a local firm will clean and maintain the grounds.