Hotel expansion granted approval

AN AMBITIOUS project costing £3million to double the size of a hotel and expand the golf complex will swing into action after councillors approved the scheme.

AN AMBITIOUS project costing £3million to double the size of a hotel and expand the golf complex will swing into action after councillors approved the scheme.

The multi-million pound expansion programme at Ufford Park Hotel, near Woodbridge, will generate 50 new jobs and help the hotel and leisure complex retain its position in a competitive market. 2005 is the expected opening date.

Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub committee said there were economic benefits for the region but concerns were expressed about the floodlighting of the two-storey, 32-bay golf driving range.

The range will be lit by seven floodlights mounted on the building at 8m high and 24 floodlights on the range at a height of 1m. The hotel originally wanted the range to open until 10.30pm seven days a week, but during consultation it said an earlier closing time could be negotiated.


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Councillors said the range would have to close at 8.30pm and appropriate landscaping was required to stop nearby homes being troubled by the lights. The committee also wanted the hotel to install signs to direct golfers and guests onto a route avoiding Melton crossroads when they exited the complex.

Ivan Jowers, committee chairman, said: "We are trying to encourage business, which is jobs, one of the policies of this council. I would have thought 8.30pm seems a reasonable time with no added time for picking up balls."

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Planning officers warned that due to the hotel's prominent location on the top of the Deben Valley it was likely that the sky glow from the floodlit range could be visible from a Special Landscape Area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Melton parish council raised 'considerable concern' over the size of the development and the impact. It called for light pollution to be kept to a minimum and for protective screening to be erected for residents of the Parklands/Lime Close/Nichols Close area.

Colin Aldous, hotel owner, said after the decision he understood residents' concerns about floodlighting but the driving range needed to be open in the evening for commercial reasons.

The plans include 53 new bedrooms for the hotel. The driving range will include a restaurant, pro-shop and golf academy. Part of the golf course needs to be redesigned to replace holes lost by the driving range's location. An overspill car parking area will have 150 new spaces.

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