The application, by 3XB Holdings Ltd, would have seen the existing Grange and Links Hotel demolished and replaced with a new building, which would include a spa, gym and swimming pool with nine apartments on the second floor.
However, an enabling development of 12 holiday apartments, four detached, two semi-detached and three blocks of four terraced houses led to contention among residents and objectors.
The developer planned to sell the houses to pay for the building of the proposed £8.5million development.
Speaking on behalf of the applicant Tim Cross told councillors the plans would support council officers’ plans to ‘make Sandilands a destination resort like North Norfolk’.
He believed the new hotel, which would employ more than 30 people, would help do that.
He was supported by ELDC Councillor Helen Matthews, who said she had seen three owners struggle with the existing property.
She outlined a general increase in tourism, including so-called stay-cations, and added: ”Sandilands sits at the gateway of the Wolds coast.”
However, there were a number of objections to the housing aspect — with concerns over the loss of privacy and safety and the ‘massive over-intensification’ of the area.
The plans received more than 500 letters of representation.
Councillor Stephen Palmer was adamant neighbouring properties would be overlooked.
“A destination hotel is something to be wanted, and I quite agree,” he said, “But they don’t want housing”.
He added that the plans would change the ‘characterful street scene’ of Sea Lane.
ELDC planning committee on Thursday, (September 6), questioned whether more suitable houses could be built and whether the plans could be deferred for further discussion — what Councillor Sid Dennis called ‘an olive branch’.
However, Mr Cross told councillors other house-types would not bring in the necessary money and that they wanted a decision made that day.
Councillor Terry Aldridge said: “I think there are major problems, especially with the local community and I think their wishes must be respected.”
He predicted that rejection would lead to the land being sold off and for the developer to ‘go develop somewhere else’.
The existing hotel is set to close next week.
For more on this story, see next week’s Leader, out Wednesday, (September 12).