War of words over new hotel

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The war of words over the new hotel proposal for the former McLaren site in Brodick is really heating up.

Arran Communiy Council, Arran Civic Trust and VisitArran have all come out against the plans and there have been calls for the developers to hold a ‘proper consultation meeting’ where residents can ask questions and see large scale drawings of the proposals.

A number of submissions have also been made to North Ayrshire Council from individuals and the Brodick Improvements Committee has submitted initial correspondence which has been passed to the applicant. As a result they have asked for the deadline for responses to be extended.

As reported in the Banner last month the Norfolk-based abobeGroup have made an application for a new £9 million aparthotel on the site of the former McLaren Hotel on Brodick shorefront.

The mid-market hotel would have 97 rooms which could accomodate more than 300,000 visitors a year and would create 30 to 40 full and part-time jobs. But the hotel would have just 52 car parking spaces.

As well as objections to the size and design of the building the Arran Civic Trust have parking concerns for residents and staff.

In their planning submission the Trust say: ‘This is a prestige site and deserving of a building that fits the culture and history of Arran, rather than the flat block idea which will dominate the Brodick seafront.

‘The very principle of introducing such an outsized project into the village character of Brodick is flawed from the outset. It seems likely,although not conceded by the developer,that the market sought for the proposed accommodation is the group visit driven by coach trips and escorted tour parties.  This approach to mass tourism has not been endorsed as the constructive future for the island.

‘It is suggested that at the very least this proposal should be put before a full planning committee meeting so that the implications of progressing with this scheme as presently constituted are fully debated by elected members of the planning committee.’

The VisitArran submission has been made collectively by the board who tell planners: ‘The existing building of the McLaren Hotel has deteriorated, and there is obviously a will to have the site developed to improve the visual appearance of the Brodick front. It is obvious that any hotel will need to get the right number of rooms to attract the necessary return on investment.

‘However, it has to be said that VisitArran believes that this site cannot take a 97 bedroom hotel, restaurant and bar and that all other issues flow from this; size and scale, staff accommodation, parking and the limited amenity offered by small room size. If this issue was addressed, it would transform perceived negative comments to positive support for the proposal, which is where we would all like to be. Sadly, if the plans remain set as it is, we cannot support the application.’

Arran Community Council have stated ‘that this application should be carefully considered against the current Local Development Plan and, in particular, the policy which states that any development should be of a scale and character which is not detrimental to the amenity and landscape of the area’.

‘Given the standard of the drawings currently supplied with the application, we feel that we are unable to support the application at this stage. We are also aware that other local groups have submitted representations to which we broadly agree and support. ‘

In their design statement the abodeGroup  argue: ‘There is a mix of Victorian traditional and post war/modern buildings with the proposal site and the immediate surroundings dominated by the later.  This results in quite a varied architectural display and is especially so with regards to the existing site and the two modern developments to each boundary. These two buildings are quite noticeably ‘different’ to better examples of local design.’

  • See letters special page 8

An artist’s impression of the new hotel. NO_B23hotel01