Hotel plan set for approval

A SCHEME to convert a former school building into a top-class hotel with the creation of up to 50 new jobs is being recommended for approval.The Thorpeness and Aldeburgh Hotel Group wants to turn the former St George's School building in Halesworth Road, Reydon, into a hotel and also build a new bedroom block.

A SCHEME to convert a former school building into a top-class hotel with the creation of up to 50 new jobs is being recommended for approval.

The Thorpeness and Aldeburgh Hotel Group wants to turn the former St George's School building in Halesworth Road, Reydon, into a hotel and also build a new bedroom block.

Waveney District Council planning officers are supporting the project and recommending councillors to give the go-ahead when the rural area development control committee meets next week.

The group behind the scheme already owns Thorpeness Golf Club and Hotel and the White Lion and Brudenell hotels in Aldeburgh.


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Tim Rowan-Robinson, chairman and managing director of the Thorpeness and Aldeburgh Group, said the former school site is an ideal location for a hotel.

The new hotel would have 40 bedrooms and a former golf course on the site could be re-opened in the future.

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"It would not only bring in extra visitors to the area and give a boost to the local economy, it would also create 50 new jobs," he said.

Planning officer with the district council, Malcolm Dixon, said the principle of this type of use for the former school building in a recognised tourist area is most welcome.

"The proposal sits comfortably with the tourism policy objective within the adopted and draft local plans and should therefore be given every encouragement and support," he said.

Mr Dixon said the extra jobs that would be created as a result of the project was another bonus.

Even, as expected, the scheme is approved it does not necessarily mean that the new hotel will be built.

The board of governors of St George's and Saint Felix School adopted a "rescue package" last summer when the schools found themselves in serious financial difficulty.

Part of the package was to relocate the younger pupils who attend St George's on to the Saint Felix School site and sell of the redundant buildings.

Earlier this year a plan to create 13 homes on the St George's site was approved by councillors and it will be up to school officials to decide what scheme to support.

The school is implementing a number of changes to boost pupil numbers including dropping the all-girl status for Saint Felix.

Getting the maximum benefit from the former St George's site is seen as vital for the new administration's continued success.

Chairman of the school's governing body, John Whyte, said: "If the hotel gets planning permission we will be in a position to receive bids from the Thorpeness and Aldeburgh Group and the developers behind the residential scheme and make a decision in the best interests of the school."

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