Hotel set to be turned into housing
A HOTEL complex is set to be redeveloped into housing - despite job losses and opposition from locals.The Smoke House Hotel in Beck Row first opened in 1979 to serve Americans visiting the US base at RAF Mildenhall.
A HOTEL complex is set to be redeveloped into housing - despite job losses and opposition from locals.
The Smoke House Hotel in Beck Row first opened in 1979 to serve Americans visiting the US base at RAF Mildenhall.
But after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, visitors to the base have found separate temporary accommodation at RAF Mildenhall and it has hit trade at the hotel.
The 100-room hotel is no longer viable according to a report submitted to Forest Heath District Council by the hotel owner Tony Warin but the 3.5 hectare site is also home to several other businesses, including shops.
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Beck Row Parish councillors have appealed for strict conditions on outline approval for housing on the site to protect jobs.
A number of people objected to the scheme and argued the shops should be saved and the developer Persimmon Homes should help pay for a new community building.
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Mr Warin said: “It is very early days and we are carrying on at the hotel as normal. Right now there is no change here - we only have outline planning permission and we are taking bookings for next year.”
Forest Heath District Council's planning committee has agreed to give outline permission for the Smoke House Hotel and adjoining shops to be redeveloped for housing.
Some overnight visitor accommodation will be kept in the oldest part of the hotel, a Grade II listed building, and there are three shops and public open space planned as part of the scheme.
No details have been given yet of the number of houses which could be built, but current policies could allow about 300, of which a quarter must be affordable homes.
Councillors have also required Persimmon to contribute towards a community centre as well as local infrastructure.
Nearly 40 jobs could be at risk with the closure of the hotel - as well as nearby shops which include a post office, pizza take-away and hairdressers.
Shop managers complained their businesses were still profitable and provided key local amenities despite the economic effects of 9/11, but they said they would support the scheme if they were given new shop buildings.