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Protest Arises After Hotel Opened Without Planning Permission

After being open for 18 months, an Eaglescliffe hotel is only now requesting planning permission. The council has since received communications from 132 people who insist that permission be denied and that it should be closed.

In March 2015 the Abbeyfield Lodge B&B and guesthouse, a former care home, commenced operations without securing official permission regarding the change of use. Local residents have contacted Stockton Borough Council to complain about the covenant that restricts use of the property to those over 55.

The planning officers for the council have recommended that permission be granted because the hotel has no negative impact on Yarm Town Centre or the surrounding areas.

The application is for a hotel with 14 bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, and office, which are already in place. If permission is granted, there would also be a single storey extension to the office.

Among the objections raised against the Abbeyfield Lodge B&B and guesthouse is that there is no need for a hotel in the first place, guests could indulge in anti-social behaviour, road safety and traffic problems are a possibility, and potentially dangerous conditions could arise for local children due to the hotel’s proximity to Junction Road Primary School.

One resident wrote in his capacity as a parent governor of the school as well as a parent whose children used nearby amenities. He said he strongly objected to the hotel because the change of use was not compatible with the location.

 

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Another parent objected on the same grounds, saying that she was “disappointed” to see the application being made once more during the school holidays, a move she saw as an attempt to sidestep objections from the school.

Acknowledging its proximity to the school, planning officers have recommended that the hotel’s first floor windows be glazed. It was also noted that the police, who have never been summoned to the hotel to quell a disturbance, have no objections. The Highways Transport and Environment department for Stockton Borough Council have no objections either.

The restrictive covenant limiting property use to those over 55 has no impact under present planning rules when it comes to whether permission should be granted. If permission was granted, however, the applicant would need to approach the council to change the covenant. Neglecting to do so could cause problems for the hotel’s owners in the future.

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