Loss of Bognor Regis hotel would harm tourism

The Royal Hotel on Bognor Regis seafront could be totally converted into flats
The Royal Hotel on Bognor Regis seafront could be totally converted into flats

UNANIMOUS opposition has been raised to plans to permanently close a Bognor Regis hotel.

Town councillors said they wanted to see the Royal Hotel kept as tourist accommodation.

They condemned a planned change of use of the seafront building into flats.

They said the scheme by Arundel Electrical would harm the town’s tourism trade, contrary to their plans and those of Arun District Council, and affect the conservation area in which the hotel is located.

The opinion of Bognor Regis Town Council’s planning and licensing committee on Tuesday will be passed to Arun District Council to consider when it decides the application.

Committee member Cllr Sandra Daniells (I, Pevensey) said: “I am totally opposed to this. It is completely out of keeping with what we are trying to achieve with our neighbourhood plan.

“We want to try and support the seafront. We have identified a lack of accommodation for visitors in the area.

“We want to see it continue as a hotel. There are examples of hotels on seafronts with little parking like this.

“We should be encouraging tourism and encouraging hotels like we did with the Belle Vue Hotel.”

The town council opposed plans to turn the nearby Belle Vue into a house of multiple occupation and the scheme was last week rejected by Arun, as reported on page six.

Committee clerk Ruth Hambleton said the Belle Vue decision offered hope the Royal Hotel could be saved.

“It is also given a little bit of protection because it’s in a conservation area,” she said.

The plans by Arundel Electrical for the 19th century building seek to change its use from a redundant hotel to ten flats in the basement and on the ground and second floor. Approval for the first floor to become flats was given by Arun in 1988.

Cllr Pat Dillon (C, Pevensey), the committee’s chairman, said: “It would be a shame to lose it as an hotel. It is a building of character.”

Cllr Jeanette Warr (LD, Hotham) said: “The Royal Hotel is a heritage asset and it complements the pier which will, hopefully, be improved.

“The hotel should be listed because it is such a lovely building.”

Cllr Graham Jones (I, Marine) said he was unhappy with the hotel’s description as redundant in the planning application.

“Just because a hotel is closed does not mean it is redundant,” he said.