Solution in sight for hotel conversion

felixstowe: Work is set to start soon on a project to convert a Felixstowe clifftop hotel into flats with a new shop and a cafe at street level.

The project at the Waverley Hotel has been stalled for more than a year after the downturn in the housing market made it unviable.

Owner Muralee Govindasamy was concerned at the cost of including seven affordable homes for rent among the 23 to be created by converting the 19-bed hotel in Wolsey Gardens and building a new apartment block alongside.

After negotiations with Suffolk Coastal officers, a solution has been suggested.

Mr Govindasamy would pay �50,000 towards provision of affordable homes elsewhere plus contribute �16,000 to play facilities in the town.

The idea – which planners say will kick-start the development – is to be put to the development control sub committee next Thursday.

Case officer Martin Price said part of the problem with the provision of affordable homes in the hotel conversion was that many of them were one-bed studio flats, which were not what was required by those on the housing list.

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“Government guidance makes it clear that local planning authorities should not look to secure a level of developer contributions that would render a development scheme unviable,” he said .

“There is clearly an overriding need to stimulate the housing market during this very difficult period.

“It is worth noting that between 2001 and 2009 only 262 new houses were built in Felixstowe. This is a concern, given that Felixstowe is the largest and most sustainable settlement within the Suffolk Coastal district.”

Mr Price said the hotel was unviable and not expected to remain open much longer. The shops and homes would help with the regeneration of the area.

? Should the hotel be converted? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk