Reassurance over major plans for historic hotel in Skegness

A Skegness resident is calling on the public to have their say on plans which would see major changes made to a historic hotel.

Plans showing proposed changes to the Vine Hotel .

Owners of the 16th Century Vine Hotel have submitted a planning application to East Lindsey District Council for change of use of land to site nine. cabins, erect of two buildings comprising 13 additional overnight rooms and extend the existing car park.

A support statement claims the Local Plan is “supportive of extensions to existing holiday accommodation sites” and “the proposed development would cause minimal harm, and not outweigh the significant benefits to the business and the local economy”.

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However, a number of objectors have already come forward, including a former Skegness town councillor, John Byford, who has lived in the area for 30 years.

Plans have been submitted for an extension and addition of lodges to the 16thC Vine Hotel in Skegness.

Mr Byford took time away from his current visit to Skegness’ twin town of Bad Gandersheim, where he is helping with the settlement of Ukraine refugees, to urge the public to look closely at the plan and have their say before a decision is made.

He told Lincolnshire World: “I’ve lived in Seacroft for nearly 31 years and have seen this wonderful and historic building, along with the beautiful grounds in which it is situated, slowly ‘butchered’.

"I, along with others, were concerned when trees were removed from the beautiful grounds and now I can see why.

"This is a historic building where Tennyson once walked (Come Into The Garden Maud).

"I could never understand why the hotel has not been awarded listed status when the Ship Hotel and the Town Hall has it – it’s almost like the hotel slipped through the net..

"We have lost too many historic buildings, including the pier and the station master’s house which a lot of people regretted afterwards –the town shouldn’t lose another.

"It’s not just about the building – it’s the setting. The hotel’s plan is in the wrong area – this site has been part of a tranquil area of Skegness for 100 years, linking to Vine Walk and Coronation Walk.

"I believe the custodians of the hotel have a duty of care to protect this building and surroundings but this plan is turning it into a glorified mini caravan park.

"I’m all for progress but this is destruction of a historic building.”

Further information in the support statement says the hotel is screened from its neighbours by a combination of fences and mature

hedges and trees.

“There are three elements to the proposal,” it states. “Firstly, it is proposed to site five cabins within the north western car park and four cabins on the northern half of the former bowling green. The cabins are mobile buildings built on an axel and for planning purposes are considered as caravans.

"As some of the existing north west car park will be utilised it is proposed to alter and extend the car park at the front/east of the hotel. This area is already in use for overflow parking. A landscaping strip will be added to the south of the car park to protect the neighbouring dwellings.

"The third component will be to demolish some dilpated outbuildings and replace them with two buildings, providing a total of 13 additional guest rooms. One of the buildings will be in a ‘L’ shape and will be single storey in height. The other building will be mainly two storeys in height and will also have an ‘L’ shape plan. In total 10 of the bedrooms will be on the ground floor with only three being on the first

floor.”

The statement concludes: “"The Local Plan is supportive of extensions to existing holiday accommodation sites, and this is reflected in permissions which have been granted since its adoption.

"The proposed development would cause minimal harm, and this would not outweigh the significant benefits to the business and the local economy.”

At the time of writing there were 13 letters of objection with some documents unavailable.

However, in support of the plan, ELDC confirmed that the Flood Warning and Evacuation Plan, that gives advice on what

action should be taken in the event of a flood, is “fit for purpose”.

Another neighbour commented: “The last thing Skegness needs is the wrong kind of development.

"It is a peaceful area to walk, enjoy a drink or meal.

"However, the larger picture in which they are proposing appears to make it a site, like a caravan site.

"This is not needed. Other homes down Vine Road will also suffer . The road will not cope with the traffic, never mind the construction

vehicles.”

HISTORY OF THE VINE HOTEL

The Vine Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Skegness, built and established in 1770.

A known haunt of smugglers in the 18th and 19th Century, creating a more sinister history to the Vine.

It is believed that a Revenue Officer investigating such activities paid a visit to the area, resulting in his death at the hands of some disgruntled smugglers.

A skeleton was found in the brickwork some 100 years later when the hotel was undergoing extensive refurbishment. There is further evidence to support this due to the fact several gold buttons bearing the Royal Insignia, part of the standard dress of a customs officer were found together with the skeleton.

More recently the building has been r”efurbished to enhance its existing historic features, whilst still retaining a warm and welcoming ambience”.

Currently the Vine has 25 en-suite bedrooms of varying standards, where many stars performing along the coast have stayed over the years.