A FORMER hotel and pub which has become ‘an eyesore’ is to be redeveloped after it closed in 2018.

The Great Western Hotel, in Vyne Road, has stood empty for around four years and is now set to be developed into apartments and a restaurant.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee went against officers’ recommendations and approved the scheme for the site.

The application by S Bhat Investment Limited will see the demolition of outbuildings and part of the existing former hotel to make way for the erection of 12 new residential apartments. The project will also see the remodelling of existing former hotel building to create a restaurant at ground floor level and four one-bed apartments to first and second floors with associated external works.

Council officers had said that the scheme would have a negative impact on the townscape and will not be sympathetic to the streetscene and character of the area, but the community backed the plans following an extensive consultation.

David Ayre, director of Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt, an architect in Basingstoke, said: “This proposal represents a fantastic opportunity to bring life back into what has become a sorry gateway into Norden. One would hope that it becomes a catalyst for further change and regeneration to the north side of the railway station.

“We have created a well-considered and carefully crafted scheme that respects, enhances and preserves the existing building."

The scheme was given the backing from the Basingstoke Heritage Society and by all three ward councillors.

Cllr Paul Basham told the meeting on Wednesday last week that the scheme combines “the old with the new to balance the site's important industrial history with the need to build more local housing”.

Concerns were raised surrounding the size of the flats within the existing building which would be smaller than policy, along with the size of the building and its proximity to Basingstoke Railway Social Club.

But committee member Cllr Chris Tomblin said: “I see in front of me an opportunity to actually smarten this area of Basingstoke up, not just the building but what it is going to offer. I am very warmed by the fact that the community are in support.”

Cllr Ken Rhatigan questioned what would happen if the Indian restaurant planned for the hospitality space did not succeed and the possibility for more flats to take over that space.

Cllr Graham Falconer said: “I can't see anything else that can be done with this site and certainly if the community wants to save the building, this looks to be the best option and I think it has got merits from planning points of view.”

The scheme was unanimously approved with conditions.

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support.

Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from your area by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.