PLANS to convert an office block into a hotel in a Northumberland town’s conservation area have sparked protests from local residents and councillors.
Developers McKenzie Real Estates are seeking permission to change the use of Bellville House in Bell Villas, Ponteland, to a hotel, including the demolition of a rear extension to the building.
Planning officers at Castle Morpeth councillors will next week recommend the project is rejected, after it generated objections from 35 local residents, Ponteland Town Council and county council highways officials. Opponents say the proposed three-storey hotel will be too high, overlook nearby properties, cause problems of smell and noise for neighbours and have inadequate parking provision.
A previous bid to convert the former engineering works into a hotel, restaurant and bar was thrown out by councillors in the 1980s, and a further application to demolish it and build 20 flats on the site was rejected seven years ago.
Castle Morpeth’s development services committee says the principle of a hotel on the site is broadly supported, but the main problem is the height of the building caused by the addition of a second floor.