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Destruction warning over new plan for former Downham Market Castle Hotel




New proposals to provide housing at a former Downham hotel would “destroy” a significant building in the town, councillors have claimed.

An initial scheme to turn the old Castle Hotel into flats were approved by West Norfolk Council last year.

But a new plan for the High Street, including a house of multiple occupation (HMO), was overwhelmingly opposed by town councillors during a meeting on Tuesday.

The former Castle Hotel in Downham, which is subject of a fresh planning application to convert it into housing.
The former Castle Hotel in Downham, which is subject of a fresh planning application to convert it into housing.

Deputy Mayor Jackie Westrop said she had been approached by a number of residents with concerns about the impact of the new application.

She said the developer had already admitted that the scheme would lead to the loss of elements which contributed to its Grade II heritage listing.

She added: “We have lost so much in terms of the heritage of this town. We should be arguing to keep it as much as we possibly can.”

Doug Lawson said the listed status only applied to the exterior rather than any internal features.

But Mayor Jenny Groom said: “The original plans that were passed were fine. But the new plans are actually going to destroy a significant building in the town. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

However, John Doyle told members: “The building has to be used.”

And Frank Daymond argued that approach represented a double standard because of the council’s approach to an application to allow advertising at another site in the town.

Mrs Groom suggested that case merely allowed a like for like replacement, though that was disputed.



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