Grand Hotel 110-room expansion plan rejected over parking fears at Sunderland seafront

Plans to boost the number of rooms at an iconic seafront hotel have been knocked back over parking concerns.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 08:31 am
The Grand Hotel

Last year, the former Marriott hotel in Seaburn underwent a revamp after changing hands.

This included new owners Britannia Hotels and the site being renamed as the Grand Hotel.

In a bid to attract more visitors to the Queens Parade site, hotel bosses lodged plans with Sunderland City Council.

This included converting a two-storey car park to make way for an extra 27 bedrooms.

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The car park is located at the lower ground and ground floor level of the hotel, under existing bedrooms.

If approved, the plans would have removed 24 parking spaces and increased the hotel’s capacity to 110 bedrooms.

However, council officers called for the plans to be refused over highway safety fears.

And they claimed the plans would leave a “reduced and substandard” level of parking for the hotel - with 59 spaces in total.

A report, presented to the council’s area Development Control Sub-Committee on Tuesday, added the plans could displace cars into nearby streets.

It also noted that no evidence had been submitted looking at likely parking demand during the “peak tourism season” or events.

In their applicant statement, hotel bosses said they could direct some visitors to public transport, nearby car parks and on-street parking during functions.

They added the plans would “help increase the local tourist industry” as well as “providing improved employment opportunities for local people.”

However, councillors were not convinced, raising issues around available parking in the area – including permit parking schemes on nearby residential streets.Another barrier included a lack of information on the potential impact on coastal habitats and protected species.Coun Heather Fagan said reducing the parking and increasing the number of hotel rooms made no “business sense.”

While Coun Paul Stewart added recommendations to refuse from council officers were “clear-cut.”

He told the meeting: “The people who will be coming here and having a bedroom for the night are not going to be local or know where the car parks are.”