A FINAL appeal has been made to save a Pagham hotel.
Parish councillors told a planning inspector the King’s Beach Hotel should stay in its original use.
Their comments to the planning inspectorate follow a bid by the Co-operative Group to overturn an Arun District Council development control committee decision to refuse permission for the ground-floor to become a store.
Ray Radmall, Pagham Parish Council’s chairman, told the inspectorate: “It remains our belief that the proposal is unsound and should be rejected.
“The survivial of his hostelry, hotel and restaurant is a key socio-economic factor to other local business and employment.
“The building is of notable architectural significance, occupying a prime corner site approaching the beach.
“It has been a key amenity and gathering place for visiting tourists and holidaymakers. It is well used during the summer by visitors to the nearby Haven Holidays’ Church Farm site.”
Cllr Radmall said the importance of the hotel on The Parade was shown by its adoption as an asset of community value by Arun. An application had also been made for the hotel to be given listed status to reflect its historical status.
The building was included in the structures of character in the village design statement, he said.
A petition of 372 names had been gathered by supporters seeking to keep it open.
Cllr Radmall said the plans by the Co-op Group were incomplete.
They only covered the ground floor of the hotel and not the first-floor accommodation.
The development control committee’s decision last July came because councillors believed the proposed change of use would cause the loss of an asset of community value.
They also said the proposed alteration to the building’s front would harm a heritage asset and it had not been shown the upper floor could continue to operate as an hotel.
Andy Thompson, the Co-op Group’s planning manager, said its nearby store in Pagham, at 757sq ft, was only a quarter of the preferred size.
A larger store of some 3,000sq ft would benefit the surrounding community with more stock he said.
“We hope that this new store will attract more customers than our current store and help provide extra footfall and linked trips to the other shops and services in The Parade,” he said.