Breakthrough in millionaire Alfie Best's vision for rundown Herefordshire hotel
THERE appears to have been a breakthrough in millionaire Alfie Best's planned revamp of a dilapidated Herefordshire hotel into a five-star venue.
The Hop Pole Hotel in Bromyard has been a long-decaying sight in the town's Market Square, with planning permission for an extensive internal refurbishment applied for.
Alfie Best, founder and chair of Wyldecrest Parks which own Sapey Golf and Country Club and Saltmarshe Castle Residential Park nearby, bought the hotel in 2019 and said the refurb would save the "dying town".
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Mr Best – named the 382nd richest person in Britain in the Sunday Times Rich List in 2020 – previously said he would plough £1.2 million into the hotel, some of which would come from the profits made at Saltmarshe.
But despite planning permission, and listed building consent, being applied for back in the autumn of 2021, Herefordshire Council is yet to make a decision.
A stumbling block appears to be satisfying the council's historic buildings team, with initial plans met with a mixed response, but they have now been given the seal of approval.
Initially, Andrea Brislane, a historic buildings officer, said the application was welcomed in general and could be supported.
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But she said changes in some areas, mainly the basement and attic levels of the grade-II listed building, would result in "less than substantial harm to the significance of the hotel through "loss of fabric".
But she acknowledged the changes would ensure the overall conservation of the heritage asset and ensure its continued use into the future, resulting in considerable public benefit.
Plans were then altered, with a vision for dining in the basement dropped and the layout of the attic level rooms altered.
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Now, fellow officer Debra Lewis said she would raise no objections to the proposal which would "secure the repair and reuse of this prominently sited listed building" in the Bromyard Conservation Area.
She said conditions on the redevelopment should be imposed, which could include detailed plans on certain aspects of the refurb being submitted to the council before going ahead.
Plans from Nick Joyce Architects, which were said to be on behalf of Essex-based Wyldecrest Parks, showed a single-storey flat-roofed extension was proposed for the rear of the building, which backs onto Rowberry Street.
Herefordshire Council planners still need to make a decision, with the historic building team just a consultee in the process.
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