PLANS to divide a Bognor Regis hotel into living accommodation for 26 people have been met with concern.
Fears over plans submitted to Arun District Council to transform the Belle Vue Hotel in Waterloo Square into a 12 bedroom property fit for 26 have been voiced.
There would be a mix of single and double rooms some of which would have their own bathroom and kitchen facilities with others making use of shared ones.
Arun district and West Sussex county councillor Francis Oppler said he would be willing to start a petition against the planning application, submitted by Vivid Design Studio on behalf of the applicant for the three-storey building.
Cllr Oppler said “I am very concerned about the loss of this facility.
“It would be another development of multiple occupancy in an area that is already densely populated with them.
“Enough is enough and we have to look for alternatives.
“This has been an entertainment venue and with the loss in recent times of a number of pubs in the area we can’t afford to lose anymore.
“This would change that area completely.
“It would change the whole demographic.
“The population in that area is more of a transit one but we would like it to become a more permanent one for families.”
The planning application seeks a change of use for part of the ground floor and all of the first and second floors.
The outside of the building will not change and the commercial element of the hotel will be kept on the ground floor with a bar and retail shop.
The application says the hotel is no longer financially viable and cannot compete with other hotels in the area.
Statements accompanying the application state: “The proposals aim to provide additional low-cost residential accommodation within the urban area and make better use of a large, under used building.
“The hotel cannot be sustained due to the condition of the existing building and the lack of demand for hotel space within the area.”
It adds: “Overall, it is suggested that the proposed change of use will not affect the character of the area and its impact will be minimal on the surrounding properties.”
However, the building is within the conservation area and Cllr Oppler is worried the damage the hotel’s change of use could cause.
“The area is an oasis and this flies in the face of what everyone has been saying we want and how we want to develop the area,” he said. “This is a red line that cannot be crossed.”