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Town council votes to recommend refusal of plans to convert historic Downham Market hotel into housing




Town councillors in Downham have voted to recommend refusal of a planning application to convert a historic hotel into apartments.

Members of Downham Market Town Council’s planning committee met on Tuesday, where they discussed the proposals for the Grade II listed Castle Hotel and agreed the plans would "adversely affect" the town centre.

At the meeting, councillors said they believed the hotel was a "viable business” and it would be "a shame to lose it".

The Castle Hotel in Downham, which is subject of a planning application to convert it into housing (26161942)
The Castle Hotel in Downham, which is subject of a planning application to convert it into housing (26161942)

Deputy mayor Jenny Groom said: “We don’t really want to lose beds because we don’t have enough in the town anyway.”

“It’s a prestigious building, a key part of the town,” she added.

Meanwhile, Jackie Westrop said: “What we are arguing is a distinct sense of unease that we would be losing a very well-loved hotel and social space.”

The application would see the hotel on High Street developed into eight new homes – with the current hoteliers saying attempts to sell the property since January 2016 have not yet been successful.

A statement in planning documents says: “Due to health and age the hoteliers will be retiring and the business will be closed on 31 March 2020, to coincide with the end of the financial year.”

Councillors voted to recommend refusal of the proposed development, “by reason of the loss of hotel space which would adversely affect the vitality and viability of Downham Market town centre”.


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