Leigh hotel to be turned into five flats under new plans

Plans - the old Bell Hotel, Leigh

Plans - the old Bell Hotel, Leigh

First published in News Echo: Photograph of the Author by

A LANDMARK building could be refurbished after its owner reached a deal with council chiefs after seven years.

Robin Levy, who owns the Bell Hotel in Leigh Hill, Leigh, has agreed to create four flats as part of a development of 20 new homes at the site.

The building, which would become five flats under the latest proposals, ceased being a hotel in the Fifties. Mr Levy has spent seven years negotiating with Southend Council to come up with a plan for the site.

The latest scheme, which does not include a hotel, will still have to be approved by councillors at next week’s development control committee meeting before it can go ahead.

However, Andrew Lewis, the council’s corporate director of enterprise, tourism and the environment, has recommended it for approval.

He said: “The Bell Hotel building is of high quality design, but has been disused for some time and is run-down in appearance.

“The refurbishment of this building is therefore welcomed and will, in principle, improve the character of the area.”

Mr Levy, who also owns Element nightclub in Southend, bought the hotel in 2005.

Various plans to revamp the premises, usually involving flats and extensions alongside a new hotel, failed to get the approval from councillors or planning inspectors.

After repeated rejections, he was finally given approval for three blocks of 15 flats, alongside the refurbished hotel, in October 2009.

But last year Mr Levy claimed a reopened hotel would not make money if he brought it back into use. He also demanded the council drop a condition requiring four of the 20 flats to be priced below their market value, to help first-time buyers on the property ladder.

Mr Levy has now agreed to provide those lower-cost homes, in return for permission to convert the hotel itself into another five flats.

The news was welcomed by neighbours who have grown sick of the hotel’s appearance.

Tim Grosvenor, 42, who lives in nearby Seaview Road, said: “I just want them to get on with it.

“It’s been so long coming. As long as the hotel is restored and looks nice, I think most people will be happy.”

Mr Levy was not available for comment.

Comments (8)

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12:08pm Mon 5 Mar 12

Nebs says...

You'd make more money turning it into a car park.
You'd make more money turning it into a car park. Nebs
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Mon 5 Mar 12

Brunning999 says...

Here we go again, flats to be built in a housing market that is falling despite whatever the politicians rabbit on about yet still and building costs rising every day helped by tbe cost of fuel.

The flats opposite in the old Oscars building were still not fully sold last time I looked so are builders/developers going to build knowing or believing the selling value of flats there might be less than the cost of building them and if fully finished the cost of paying council tax for empty properties will be a burden.

After the Olympics and when we have realized that the recession is still not improving and we have again overspent the collapse will begin starting with severe reductions in benefits which has always been on be cards, because like Greece we will have to learn a lesson 'you cannot have what you cannot afford'
Here we go again, flats to be built in a housing market that is falling despite whatever the politicians rabbit on about yet still and building costs rising every day helped by tbe cost of fuel. The flats opposite in the old Oscars building were still not fully sold last time I looked so are builders/developers going to build knowing or believing the selling value of flats there might be less than the cost of building them and if fully finished the cost of paying council tax for empty properties will be a burden. After the Olympics and when we have realized that the recession is still not improving and we have again overspent the collapse will begin starting with severe reductions in benefits which has always been on be cards, because like Greece we will have to learn a lesson 'you cannot have what you cannot afford' Brunning999
  • Score: 0

12:24pm Mon 5 Mar 12

perini says...

So another cop-out by the council - can't help make you wonder at the thickness of the brown envelope that one can only assume got passed!!
So another cop-out by the council - can't help make you wonder at the thickness of the brown envelope that one can only assume got passed!! perini
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Mon 5 Mar 12

crash19811 says...

perini wrote:
So another cop-out by the council - can't help make you wonder at the thickness of the brown envelope that one can only assume got passed!!
Presumably you have some evidence of fraudulent activity and 'brown envelopes'....
[quote][p][bold]perini[/bold] wrote: So another cop-out by the council - can't help make you wonder at the thickness of the brown envelope that one can only assume got passed!![/p][/quote]Presumably you have some evidence of fraudulent activity and 'brown envelopes'.... crash19811
  • Score: 0

1:42pm Mon 5 Mar 12

mr_happy says...

More council housing for imigrants?????
More council housing for imigrants????? mr_happy
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Mon 5 Mar 12

Brunning999 says...

perini wrote:
So another cop-out by the council - can't help make you wonder at the thickness of the brown envelope that one can only assume got passed!!
These conspiracy theories really do to help anyone unless there is sufficient evidence to prove true.
[quote][p][bold]perini[/bold] wrote: So another cop-out by the council - can't help make you wonder at the thickness of the brown envelope that one can only assume got passed!![/p][/quote]These conspiracy theories really do to help anyone unless there is sufficient evidence to prove true. Brunning999
  • Score: 0

10:40am Tue 6 Mar 12

perini says...

Brunning999 wrote:
perini wrote: So another cop-out by the council - can't help make you wonder at the thickness of the brown envelope that one can only assume got passed!!
These conspiracy theories really do to help anyone unless there is sufficient evidence to prove true.
Only an assumption but how else do you explain a sudden about turn by a council 'dedicated' to preserving a semblance of charm in Old Leigh. Coupled with that Levy made his money by wearing various councils down until they gave in.
[quote][p][bold]Brunning999[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]perini[/bold] wrote: So another cop-out by the council - can't help make you wonder at the thickness of the brown envelope that one can only assume got passed!![/p][/quote]These conspiracy theories really do to help anyone unless there is sufficient evidence to prove true.[/p][/quote]Only an assumption but how else do you explain a sudden about turn by a council 'dedicated' to preserving a semblance of charm in Old Leigh. Coupled with that Levy made his money by wearing various councils down until they gave in. perini
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Wed 7 Mar 12

The Cater Wood Creeper says...

good, turn it into housing, take the strain off greenbelt/leisure facilities and playing fields
good, turn it into housing, take the strain off greenbelt/leisure facilities and playing fields The Cater Wood Creeper
  • Score: 0

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