Former hotel proposal in doubt

DETAILED proposals have been unveiled to convert an historic hotel into flats and build 28 new homes in its grounds – but the project looks set to be rejected.

DETAILED proposals have been unveiled to convert an historic hotel into flats and build 28 new homes in its grounds – but the project looks set to be rejected.

The scheme for the £2.75 million Melton Grange has widespread support from the community, who accept the site cannot remain derelict.

But Suffolk Coastal council's planners are recommending refusal of the scheme because they say it is against policy and the hotel grounds are a hugely important part of the area's landscape.

It had been hoped the hotel – a listed building – in Pytches Road could be sold for use such as a private school or hospital, or leisure uses such as country club, conference centre, or as offices.


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The demand for such uses has been tested by the further marketing of the site by the owners Chater Land Holdings Ltd.

Some interest in the premises was generated and a number of enquiries were made directly to the planning department.

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However, no offers other than for housing and flats had been received.

In a report to the south area development control sub committee on October 14, planning officers say they are very concerned about the grounds being used for housing, though conversion of the hotel for flats would not be a problem.

"The grounds of the former hotel however, particularly those to the front of the building, do make a significant contribution in their undeveloped form both to the setting of the listed building and the wider area," said the report.

"The site contributes to a much wider area to be protected from development which covers a considerable part of Pytches Road.

"It seeks to protect the open character and the existing trees and woodland.

"It is considered that erecting a series of detached houses extending along the northern and southern edges of the site and in front of Melton Grange would materially detract from the character and appearance of the area, violate the overall policy objective of retaining the area free from development, and adversely affect the setting of this grade 2 listed building."

Chater Holdings say their proposals are a "sensitive and appropriate approach" to development of the site.

Melton Parish Council and Woodbridge Town Council support the application, while the Woodbridge Society's main concern is traffic on Pytches Road.

What do you think of the proposals for the Melton Grange? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1An, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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