A family-run St. Brelade hotel with unspoilt sea views is to be demolished to make way for 11 high-end flats, after it became too expensive to maintain.
Plans to scrap Windmills Hotel, which was built in the 1960s at the height of Jersey's tourism boom and has been home to the family-run business for the past 26 years were approved by the Planning Department this week.
The family announced last year that 2019 will be their last year in activity, with the hotel closing in September.
Proposals to demolish it and build flats in its place were then submitted to the Planning Department in October last year.
The architects behind the plans, Castletree Group, explained that it was no longer "economically feasible" for the hotel to stay open as the cost of the works needed to keep the building up to modern standards was prohibitive. It added that the business was not making the same returns it used to.
Pictured: The Windmills Hotel is located on Mont Gras d'Eau in St. Brelade.
Castletree Group explained that the decision to demolish the hotel, rather than convert it into flats, was motivated by the fact the rooms are small and would not be easily converted into residences. "The existing building has no architectural or heritage merit," they said.
According to the architects, the plans aim to make the best possible use of the L-shaped 3,763sqm gap that would be left by Windmills without having a "detrimental impact" on the landscape. The proposed building will sit below current roof and tree lines when viewed from the bay and will therefore not ruin the view of local skylines.
The three-floor building will have wrap around stone-clad balconies on the south side with a glass facade set behind, as well as roof gardens at different levels. Meanwhile, rose-coloured granite with a "flamed finish" has been chosen for the facade.
Pictured: In earlier designs, the proposed building was higher. (Castletree Group)
Following comments from neighbours who were concerned about the scale of the building and the fact some of the windows would be overlooking neighbouring properties, the plans were amended.
The height of the building was lowered by nearly two metres so that it would be no taller than the existing hotel building. The architects also suggested structural planting at the top of the cotil.
However, this didn’t seem to appease concerned neighbours, who said the changes didn’t address their concerns. One wrote: “The proposals for the development of the site do not provide the expected level of assurance to protect the well-being of the immediate neighbours, their properties and the public during the course of the proposed development.”
Pictured: Neighbours remain concerned about the level of traffic the development will bring to the area.
Concerns were also raised around the level of traffic the new development would bring to the area.
“The idea that proposed apartments will not increase traffic flows as they will only be occupied for limited periods is just not believable," one neighbour wrote. “...The increase in traffic will be substantial and adequate and appropriate adjustment to the plans for the access road should be made. At the very least this should entail some properly designated passing places or the road widened in places to allow two cars.”
The application was eventually approved by Planning earlier this week. The assessment officer in change of the application wrote that the development made “best use of previously developed land, producing a contemporary scheme which relates well to the existing site context and with a substantial landscaping scheme that will reinforce the site’s Green Backdrop location.”
Pictured: The development will include landscaping.
They recommended the application for approval concluding that there would not be “unreasonable harm” to neighbouring properties.
”Whilst some local residents have concerns about the proposals, careful consideration has been given to the size, scale and massing and overall design to ensure that the development does not impact on either the character or appearance of the area or on the amenities of the immediately adjoining residential properties,” the officer concluded.
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