Council officers recommend plan to transform Leigh pub into a hotel be given the green light

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A former pub in Leigh could soon be converted into a hotel after Southend Council’s planning team said plans for the redevelopment should be given the go-ahead.

Under the plans, the vacant Ship pub on New Road in Leigh will be redeveloped into a 15-bedroom hotel with a two-storey extension being added to the western side of the existing building and another at the rear, along with balconies.

The planning application represents a revision to an earlier application for a 14-bed hotel which was approved by councillors in July.

Despite the earlier approval, five neighbouring residents have written to the council to oppose the plans, as well as Leigh Town Council.

Their concerns centre specifically around plans to make the building larger and how it will impact neighbouring properties, there are also concerns about just seven parking spaces being provided.

The objection lodged by the town council notes: “The proposal does not respect its surroundings in terms of height and bulk. It would not contribute positively to the space between buildings and its relationship to the public realm.

“The application does not protect the amenity of immediate neighbours and surrounding area. The proposed 15 bedrooms are considered too many as it will add to the parking stress in the immediate area with the provision of only seven spaces.”

But planning officers dismissed the concern, stating: “The extension would not worsen the relationship of the building with the neighbouring properties and it would not result in material harm to the amenity of neighbouring occupiers in terms of dominance and overpowering, overshadowing, loss of light and outlook or a sense of enclosure”.

Referring to the parking situation, officers added that the previous application for 14 bedrooms was granted approval with seven parking spaces and the argument that adding one extra room would require more parking is not “sufficient to justify the refusal of the proposal”.

Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Wrexham, who represents Leigh, said: “A hotel will cause less trouble than a pub and loud music and noisy people outside.

“It is also better than having it turned into another block of flats.”

However, Mr Wrexham did side with those opposing the scheme over its size, adding that it is “over the top”.

The planning application will be discussed by councillors at a meeting on Wednesday, November 6.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter

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