Seafront hotel ‘cannot compete’ with chains

DM16122696a.jpg Kingsway Hotel, Worthing. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160606-173707008
DM16122696a.jpg Kingsway Hotel, Worthing. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160606-173707008

A seafront hotel will become the latest to be converted to flats after councillors heard the family-run business was no longer financially viable.

The Kingsway Hotel, in Marine Parade, Worthing, will follow the likes of the Eardley, Warnes, Cavendish and Beach Hotel in being replaced by apartments.

A buyer had not been found in two years, despite the asking price dropping to £999,000 from a valuation of £1.2million.

Planning agent Kam Sagar said: “The criticism it is driven by profit is simply not true.

“The sad reality is that these small hotels simply cannot compete with the Travelodge and Premier Inn, both of whom control the local market.”

The council seeks to protect the town’s tourist accommodation through its planning policies.

It requires extensive marketing evidence to justify a change of use application.

Planners engaged consultants Hotel Solutions to assess the applicant’s claims the hotel was not viable, with advice suggesting it would be ‘worth a further attempt’ to find a buyer.

They argued the hotel had only been marketed for a short time at the lower price, concluding the council would be justified to retain the hotel use.

But in recommending approval, council officer Gary Peck said the finely-balanced case could be approved because of ‘clear difficulties’ in running viable hotels, precedent, visual improvements and provision of new homes.

Councillor Edward Crouch feared it was ‘too little, too late’ to retain the hotel.

Tarring councillor Hazel Thorpe, meanwhile, said: “It’s really important that we actually fight for our hotels and we should be fighting for development that enhances what is already there. To a point the frontage may look better but the back will look worse.”

The hotel’s frontage will be retained but a rear extension will be demolished and rebuilt.

The plans attracted six letters of objection.

Among them was Debbie Mason, of Thorn Road, partner of artist David Freud.

She said: “Our privacy is already overlooked by a number of new windows which are part of the new Beach Hotel development.

“With this proposed development we will be overlooked throughout the rear of our property.”

The plans were approved by six votes to two.

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