Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Is flats plan last throw of the dice for the Balmoral?
10:00am Sunday 5th August 2012 in Local News
A HOTEL could be demolished and turned into a block of flats if a new planning application gets the go-ahead.
The Balmoral Hotel, in Valkyrie Road, Westcliff , shut in July 2010, after the business failed. Owner David Mead, 53, from Bowers Gifford, is now in talks with Southend Council and was due to submit plans this week. He said: “We have been liaising with the council planning department and have been in close discussion with the council about the pre-planning application. “A formal submission will be made. We also surveyed local residents who liked the idea and all the signs are we will get this scheme approved.”
The property in Valkyrie Road, Westcliff, has been sitting empty while owners Mr Mead and co-owner Sinclair Brown tried to get permission for various new uses for the site.
The hotel was forced to close in July 2010 for a number of reasons after thousands was spent revamping the building. Mr Mead said: “We spent an absolute fortune on renovating it with new furniture, bespoke custom made bar area, new kitchens, everything. “Business was improving and we were getting bookings for it as a wedding venue. But the council issued a noise abatement notice which meant we couldn’t carry on with the weddings. “That was bad enough, but the death knell came when the Park Inn Palace Hotel opened up with its sea views. We couldn’t compete and the hotel was no longer viable.”
After the hotel closed, it was used for bedsits until November 2010. In January 2011 an application for 23 bedsits was rejected by the council and in May 2011, an application to demolish the property and build a £3.5million, 83-bedroom, four-storey nursing home was rejected. A third application in February was also thrown out and the property has been falling into disrepair since then.
Mr Mead said the delays had been disastrous.
He added: “We nearly went bankrupt with all the problems and the building is now in a terrible state of repair, so the plan to build flats is the last hope.”
The new plans have been designed and overseen by Paul Seager at ACS Design. He said: “We have been working with Mr Mead and Mr Brown on various schemes, but we are quietly confident this one will get the go ahead. We will be holding an open evening so residents can see the scheme for themselves.”