Campaigners say 700 have signed petition opposing Adnams’ Swan Hotel proposal ahead of tonight’s planning decision

Swan Hotel, Southwold.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Swan Hotel, Southwold. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Planners will decide tonight on proposed changes to a Suffolk hotel car park, which opponents say would “devastate” a conservation area.

Adnams has applied to create a new exit from its Swan Hotel car park in Southwold onto Victoria Street as part of wider plans to refurbish the building and create extra rooms.

Residents and homeowners in Victoria Street claim the plans would “heavily commercialise” their quiet residential road and bring about a dangerous increase in traffic. John Hedges, one of the campaigners, claims a petition opposing the plans has more than 700 signatures.

Despite the opposition, Southwold Town Council has revised its position on the application and now recommends its approval, following offers made by the company.

Waveney District Council is also recommending its planning committee approves the application. Its report concludes that while the residents’ concerns about the conservation area are “important material considerations” the applicants’ mitigating amendments meant the “planing balance is a positive one”. The report also claims noise from the additional traffic is “unlikely to be significant” and the extra vehicles can be “accommodated”.

Mr Hedges disputes the findings of the report, saying it has been created to “justify the sub-standard scheme”.

“It’s all quite scandalous,” he added.

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A spokesman for Adnams said the company “cares deeply” about Southwold and has strived to do its best for the community.

“It has often been said Southwold and Adnams are inextricably linked and it is in all our interests to maintain everything that is special about our home town,” the spokesman added.

The company said it had consulted with residents and businesses throughout the application process to “ensure we achieve the best outcome for all parties”.

While recognising the concerns raised, Adnams said it was concerned the petition “misrepresents facts”.

“In our plans we are simply reversing the flow of the existing car park to stop cars exiting onto an increasingly busy marketplace in the heart of Southwold, rest assured we are in no way proposing to turn Victoria Street into a car park,” the spokesman said

The company said 72% of opposing correspondence came from more than 10 miles from Southwold.