Corfe Mullen will have a hotel
PLANNING permission has been granted by East Dorset District Council for a 12 bedroom hotel on the A31 which was in danger of being rejected because it is in the protected green belt.
Officers recommended refusal for the application by Mr J Long, who wanted to build the single storey side and rear extension to The Paddocks, a bungalow between a filling station, roadside cafe and caravan sales area.
They said that although meeting National Planning Policy Framework guidelines from the point of view of promoting growth and boosting the local economy, the proposal would constitute disproportionate development in the green belt.
It would mean an 84 per cent increase in floor space, since a conservatory and garage to be demolished and replaced by the new extensions were not part of the original bungalow floor space, they said.
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But planning committee members highlighted the fact that additions to the original bungalow had been given a certificate of lawful use, making the new footprint no different to the existing one, and felt that the location of the hotel close to related commercial activity was appropriate.
"This is development which fits perfectly within the context of the A31 trunk road, in surrounding that having nothing to do with the green belt," said Councillor Simon Tong.
They were told that although the parking for the new hotel would be on land which a previous appeal ruling conditioned should be grassed and was subject to an enforcement notice, it would occupy only part of the site frontage and the remainder could be landscaped.
They welcomed the numerous letters of support for the development from people highlighting the shortage of hotel accommodation in the area, and Councillor Toni Coombs said: "The economic benefit in this instance will outweigh green belt policy in this location at the side of the A31."
Councillor Robin Cook added: "What we have here is a project to benefit Wimborne and visitors to our county."
And council leader Spencer Flower said: "How can we describe a site with a caravan sales area, an eatery and a filling station of a kind you get all over the country as open green belt. The committee has discretion to allow an exception to green belt policy, and an exception does not alter the policy."
It was agreed that the approval should be subject to conditions tying the development to the neighbouring cafe which is in the same ownership, as well as to landscaping, restriction of permitted development rights, and to any contribution to highway improvements required by the highway authority.