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PHOTOS: New vision for 86-bed hotel revealed in plans to demolish Morecambe businesses

228-235 Marine Road Central in Morecambe would be demolished to make way for a hotel if the plans are approved

New images have been unveiled as part of plans to bulldoze a row of shops and offices on the Prom to make way for a hotel.

Developers TAG Morecambe Ltd have now formally applied to knock down 228 to 235 Marine Road Central and replace the premises there with an 86-bedroom hotel, restaurant, bar and coffee shop.

Beyond Radio exclusively revealed the plans last month and a planning application has now been officially submitted to Lancaster City Council.

Read more: Plan revealed to bulldoze Morecambe Prom businesses to make way for new hotel - Beyond Radio

The buildings concerned are occupied by the Bayside Emporium antiques centre, The Consult Centre social media agency and room hire firm,  Bays Bikes bicycle shop, AJ's Burger Bar, the Lakeland Rooms and former Strawberry Dance Studios.

The council will decide whether to grant planning permission for the new five-storey building, in due course.

The official plans include artist's impressions of how the new development might look. See below, images by DAY Architectural of Manchester.

This image shows the proposed view looking west on Marine Road Central.

Looking South West across Marine Road Central.

Looking South East from the Promenade.

From the rear of West View Car Park (behind the hotel).

A transport statement, provided with the plans, said: "The development will demolish the existing uses on the site and construct a hotel with 86 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar area with a public floor area of 103sqm, and a small retail unit with a floor area of 91sqm.

"The main entrance to the building will be on Marine Road Central with a secondary entrance provided to the rear onto West View Road.

"Appropriate provision will be made for cycle storage for staff and guests...showers and changing facilities will be provided for staff.

"An Interim Travel Plan has been prepared for the site that sets out measures to support staff and visitors to travel to the site sustainably."

The transport statement says there had been a "low number" of traffic accidents in the area over the past few years, and this "does not indicate a particular highway problem particularly when considered in the context of the Marine Road Central daily traffic flows (14,491) and volume of people concentrated at this point on the network".

"Any parking demand currently generated is accommodated in public car parks. The proposal will provide a complementary use that will provide overnight accommodation for people visiting other destinations in the town centre, including the Eden Project. This means that the majority will be linked trips, rather than ‘new’ to the network and that the development will not be associated with a notable increase in parking pressure on town centre car parks.

"The proposal includes modifications to the TRO (Traffic Regulation Order) to provide disabled parking. 

"Construction traffic will access and egress the site via Marine Road Central. During this stage, it is anticipated that the temporary site welfare and office will be positioned adjacent to the road, with contractor parking available.

"The Averill Group (TAG) remain wholly committed to improving the local community through this project. A key part of that approach is ensuring that whilst works are ongoing, the site is managed responsibly and in a considerate manner to ensure that any adverse impacts are kept to an absolute minimum."

A design and access statement for the plans has been produced by DAY Architectural architects, based in Manchester.

It says: "The Averill Group (TAG) is a creative and growing development company based in Manchester" who "pride themselves on identifying, securing and advancing development opportunities in strategic locations throughout the UK".

It says the "dilapidated condition of existing buildings of limited heritage value provides an opportunity to reinstate a sense of grandeur to the promenade" and the development is "a unique opportunity to activate and reinstate a strong frontage to the promenade with both public realm space as well as potential retail opportunities to be explored".

The statement says: "The proposals at 234 Marine Road Central are to create a formalised entrance to the hotel and retail store. The aspiration aims to bring life to the streetscape with areas for planting, seating and external spill out areas for the food and beverage offer. Seating and planters allow guests to navigate to the entrances and provide an external waiting/meeting area.

"Soft landscape planting has the opportunity to provide interest along Marine Road at the interface between the private and public realm. The use of native, cultivars and planting known to be attractive to wildlife is proposed."

Beyond Radio was told last month that there had been some "bad feeling" about the proposed hotel among some of the businesses, who say they were not consulted about the plans and who may now have to relocate.

Ian Arnold, owner of Bays Bikes, has told us that he is going to "bite the bullet" and move out in October.

John O'Neill, manager of Morecambe BID, an independent body representing local businesses, said: "Morecambe welcomes new development and investment however it shouldn't be at any price.

"It should be sympathetic with the existing area, especially when we have a vacant seven-acre plot in Frontierland that's ripe for leisure investment (hotels, holiday apartments etc) that wouldn't cause disruption to any existing businesses and their employees. "We have an eclectic and independent mix of businesses on the promenade and side streets and they should be encouraged to stay."

One of the businesses affected, the Bayside Emporium, has been at 235 Marine Road Central for the past seven years. The antiques centre is run by Lee Clarke (below).

"It was very sudden," said Mr Clarke in July, talking about how he found out about the plans for the hotel. 

"We rent this shop, as do most of the people along this block. It's possible I will have to look further afield.

"We love being on Morecambe Promenade and I think we add quite a lot to the Prom with our presence and our quirkiness. It's a shame for the businesses.

"I think there's a bit of bad feeling amongst some of the business owners. It's going to affect them.

"It's also that they're bulldozing an entire block full of character. Is it the start of bigger things regarding some of these blocks, and the face of Morecambe?

"We'll be fine. It's not going to happen overnight. It could be a year. It could be two years. We'll keep our eyes and ears open and we'll look for something bigger and better, if anything. But I would have loved to stay.

"Eden is going to change a lot of things, a lot of them will be for the better. I don't know about this hotel."

The Consult Centre is a social media agency and room hire firm run by local businesswoman Ruth Wilkinson (pictured below), based in the upper floors of 231-233 Marine Road Central, employing 10 people.

Ms Wilkinson also runs a consultancy company Ruth Wilkinson Consulting from the premises. 

"As a business owner, local employer and leaseholder of the building, this news is, of course, a cause for concern and a significant worry regarding the impact on our business and on the jobs we provide for our local team of 10," she said, speaking in July.

"With that said we know that new development and businesses coming to Morecambe could have a positive impact on our town and economy, and that is something to be encouraged."

The Consult Centre's lease on two floors of the building expires in November 2027.

Over the years the premises has been home to several night-spots including Charleston's and Fred's on the Ball.

The ground floor is now home to bicycle shop Bays Bikes, run by Ian Arnold and partner Julie Wood. They have been there for five years and the business has been in the town for 15 years altogether, having previously had a shop in the West End.

Mr Arnold said: "We've already decided to bite the bullet on it and we're shutting the shop down.

"(The hotel) is one of those things that has happened and it's for the good of the area, supposedly.

"We're hoping to move back to Alice Street, where Mike's Bikes used to be. We will be out of here in October."

There is also an occupied flat in the building, above Bays Bikes.

AJ's Burgers takeaway is located next door and there is an occupied flat above the business too.

The Lakeland Rooms accommodation next door to AJ's, is currently in use, while the former Strawberry Dance Studios on the ground floor is vacant.

The Consult Centre/Bays Bikes and AJ's buildings are owned by the same landlord, while Bayside Emporium is owned by a separate landlord.

Work on the proposed Eden Project Morecambe, an earmarked new attraction across the Promenade from the planned hotel, is expected to start in 2024 with a targeted opening date of 2026.

The Eden facility is expected to bring 740,000 visitors annually to the area.

The plans are available in full at the Planning section of the Lancaster City Council website, reference number 23/00858/FUL.

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