Owners of Haslemere’s Georgian Hotel have been left dismayed after their planning application was pulled from the Planning Committee at the last minute. Group Chief Executive Richard Angel told Haslemere Herald:
“Waverley officers publicly recommended the application for approval – the application was withdrawn just 48 hours before the committee date. Nearly 12 months on from the initial submission, this delay is putting the future of the hotel and all 30 jobs at risk.”
It’s a controversial application to build 3 dwellings and change some of the rear hotel and spa into 16 flats, in order to revamp the tired hotel into a trendy boutique eatery and destination hotel, generating £2Million to secure its financial future. If this was Farnham or Godalming, it would be granted in a wink of an eye… but oh no, not in precious Haslemere!
The hotel is already in administration, and currently trading poorly in the hope of a refurbishment. Mr Angel continued: “The hotel does not operate at full capacity. In January 2019, the occupancy rate dropped to just 9 per cent. At weekends, the figures are even worse.”
It seems Town and Waverley Councillors and the Haslemere Society in particular have been determined to try to prove the business was mismanaged and is perfectly viable as a 43 bedroom hotel, despite the applicant providing reports from Savills (1st March 2018) and Fleurets (15th August 2018). The Haslemere Society said:
In a letter to Waverley last week the owners were dismayed at the meddling by local councillors:
“we are shocked to hear that Members have raised the concerns they have given the clear and unambiguous evidence that has been provided.
The matters that you report as being raised by Members are without sound basis and clearly step outside the parameters of what is necessary and reasonable to request in the circumstances. Whilst we have taken the time to address them below, we must raise our significant concern that they have been raised both in the manner that they have and at this very late stage in the determination of the application.”
In particular the applicants highlighted in this letter The Haslemere Society’s Basil Fawlty pipe dreams:
- In response to the question regarding the potential viability of the current 43-bed operation, we have submitted sufficient evidence to answer any such questions posed. This is the precise purpose of the Fleurets report and it answers the questions as to whether the current use is viable. As such, this request is considered to be preposterous and without merit and Members should be pointed to both the Fleurets report itself and the conclusions of the Councils’ independent audit of the report to ensure that they have properly recognised the detailed content of both reports.