Bognor Regis hotel set to become flats

Planning approval is due to be given to turn the Royal Hotel into flats
Planning approval is due to be given to turn the Royal Hotel into flats

A DECISION next week is set to see a Bognor Regis hotel become fully converted into flats.

Arun District Council’s development control committee is being recommended to approve the change of use of the redundant Royal Hotel into ten apartments.

Simon Davis, a council planning officer, states in his report to next Wednesday’s committee meeting no planning reason existed to stop the work going ahead.

“The loss of the hotel use is regrettable but with the submitted viability report making it clear that the hotel use is no longer viable, a policy objection cannot be sustained as to the loss of the hotel.

“It is not considered that the proposal will adversely affect the character of the building in the conservation area.

“And it is considered that the site is sustainably located such that residential occupiers would not need to own a car to access local services, facilities and sources of employment,” he said.

But he has told the councillors the permission should only be approved if the developer, Arundel Electrical, agrees to pay £14,040 towards providing affordable housing and £12,750 for open green spaces within a month.

Failure to reach a deal will see the plan rejected because of the lack of payments.

As reported, a study for Arundel Electrical reported it would cost £1.5m to return the hotel to visitor use. It was unlikely a corporate operator would be interested and an individual would find it very difficult, if not impossible, to raise enough money. This was reluctantly accepted by the council’s economic development officers, Mr Davis says, who believe confidence in hotel uses in Bognor remain.

The Royal Hotel is a three-storey 1830s hotel on The Esplanade within The Steyne and Waterloo Square conservation area.

Permission was given by Arun in 1988 to convert the first floor into ten studio and one-bed apartments. The ten flats currently proposed are spread across the basement, ground, second and third floors.

Bognor Regis Town Council objected to the plans because it wanted to see the tourism industry protected.