GUESTS at an Aldwick hotel have reacted with dismay to news of the formal plans to close it.
Ivy Temple enjoyed her latest eight day stay at the Russell Hotel, run by Action for Blind People, last Saturday (January 9).
The 81-year-old from Shepherd’s Bush, in West London, has been blind since birth.
She said: “I’ve been coming here for some 20-30 years. It’s ideal. It’s got everything we need. “I don’t want it to close and I don’t know anybody who does.
“It’s a beautiful little hotel for me and my companion dog, Jodie, a ten-year-old labrador.
“If the Russell is closed, I will have nowhere else to go.”
The hotel had been full last week with all 40 bedrooms occupied, she said.
Another regular, Peter Schubert, said: “It has a perfect location, with excellent views and facilities and it would be a shame to lose it.”
As reported, the Livability charity has asked Arun District Council for planning permission to change the use of the hotel on King’s Parade to a care home.
It wants to use the building to provide modern facilities for the 15 residents of its ageing Ashley House on Aldwick Road.
The planning application will be debated by Aldwick Parish Council at its planning committee meeting on January 20. Its view will be passed on to Arun to consider when it makes the final decision at a date yet to be decided.
Russell Hotel Support Group founder Paula Campbell said: “I think we are going to elect someone to stand up on our behalf and put our point of view.
“We have a petition with over 2,000 signatures. I hope our supporters will write invidivual letters to Arun to object to the plans.”
Mrs Campbell said the Bognor Regis area could not afford to lose another hotel.
“It has got everything going for it as an hotel. It should stay open as an hotel.
“I understand it’s all about money and two charities are helping each other out.
“But I’m sure the hotel could make money but Action for Blind People have already made their decision to close it,” she said.
A spokeswoman for Action for Blind People said: “Livability has submitted a planning application for change of use of the Russell Hotel.
“We are unable to advise on any precise timings until the application has been determined.”
The limited financial facts from Action for Blind People with the planning application shows the hotel’s occupancy declining in the past three years to 70.1 per cent.