New McLaren ho­tel plans on the ta­ble

De­vel­oper has lis­tened to what op­po­nents said

The Arran Banner - - Front Page - Hugh Boag ed­i­[email protected]­ran­ban­

The de­vel­oper be­hind a new ho­tel on Brod­ick shore­front has sub­mit­ted new plans for a smaller de­vel­op­ment than orig­i­nally pro­posed.

Re­vised plans, which have been lodged, re­duces the size of the ho­tel, cuts the num­ber of rooms and sig­nif­i­cantly in­creases the amount of park­ing which will be avail­able.

The ap­pear­ance of the build­ing has also been sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced.

The changes could go a long way to sat­is­fy­ing the sig­nif­i­cant op­po­si­tion to the pro­pos­als for the for­mer eye­sore McLaren Ho­tel site, with the de­vel­oper also in­sist­ing it is of­fer­ing a new class of ac­com­mo­da­tion and is not try­ing to com­pete with ex­ist­ing providers. An amended plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the de­mo­li­tion of the ex­ist­ing ho­tel and the erec­tion of a new ho­tel on the site has been sub­mit­ted to plan­ning chiefs at North Ayr­shire Coun­cil by de­vel­oper the abode Group.

The new plan is for an 88 guest room, mid-mar­ket apartho­tel – down from 97 rooms – re­duces the scale and mass of the build­ing by 10 per cent and sig­nif­i­cantly in­creases the num­ber of park­ing spa­ces from 52 to 80.

There would also be five staff rooms on the top floor.

The new ho­tel, which would also fea­ture a restau­rant and bar, has pre­vi­ously faced stiff re­sis­tance with a num­ber of ob­jec­tions –

most no­tably from VisitAr­ran, the Ar­ran Civic Trust and Ar­ran Com­mu­nity Coun­cil as well as in­di­vid­ual mem­bers of the pub­lic – who cited rea­sons for ob­ject­ing to the proposal as its size, scale, park­ing pro­vi­sion, ap­pear­ance and the lack of pro­vi­sion for staff ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The Nor­fork-based abodeGroup has been in talks with plan­ning of­fi­cials for more than three years and first made its plans pub­lic more than a year ago and fi­nally sub­mit­ted plans for a £9 mil­lion ho­tel in May.

In a new sup­port­ing plan­ning state­ment, the de­vel­oper now says: ‘The bal­ance has been achieved by de­sign­ing a three-storey build­ing, util­is­ing the roof space for ad­di­tional rooms, that main­tains the visual gaps be­tween it and its neigh­bours. The width of the ‘main build­ing’, el­e­ment oc­cu­pies just over half of the site width at the front el­e­va­tion.’

It goes on: ‘The pro­posed new build­ing has been de­signed to be of a higher qual­ity, in re­spect of de­tail, ma­te­ri­als and scale. The change in ma­te­ri­als pro­posed, with glass to the front, stone fac­ing to the main build­ing, ren­dered walls to the rear, cou­pled with vary­ing widths and heights cre­ates visual depth. Dormer win­dows are placed within the eaves line of the main build­ing roof, re­flect­ing de­tails as can be seen on other build­ings in Brod­ick, for ex­am­ple the nearby Dou­glas Ho­tel.’

The ques­tion of staff ac­com­mo­da­tion has also been a stick­ing point with ob­jec­tors, how­ever, the de­vel­oper now says: ‘The ho­tel is ex­pected to em­ploy a max­i­mum of 25 FTE mem­bers of staff in to­tal. It is en­vis­aged that 80 per cent of the staff will be em­ployed from the main­land, and there­fore staff quar­ters in the ho­tel will be pro­vided for these em­ploy­ees.

‘The re­main­ing 20 per cent will be re­cruited lo­cally, and will there­fore be able to walk, cy­cle or use pub­lic trans­port to travel to/ from work.

‘It is not ex­pected that there will ever be more than 19 mem­bers of staff on duty at any one time.’

The fact that there were only 52 park­ing spa­ces for ho­tel guests, bar and restau­rant vis­i­tors and staff was also a ma­jor con­cern. How­ever, in in­creas­ing the park­ing pro­vi­sion the de­vel­oper now says: ‘The coun­cil’s park­ing stan­dards would re­quire a max­i­mum of 70.4 car park­ing spa­ces for guests, and 8.3 car park­ing spa­ces for staff (i.e. a to­tal of 78.7 spa­ces). The pro­posed site lay­out shows a to­tal of 80 car park­ing spa­ces, in­clud­ing four dis­abled spa­ces.’

A spokesman for the abodeGroup said: ‘We have had the op­por­tu­nity to care­fully con­sider the com­ments made dur­ing plan­ning con­sul­ta­tion and are pleased to present an up­dated, eco­nom­i­cally vi­able re­vised de­sign which is around 10 per cent smaller in terms of scale and mass and in­cor­po­rates ac­com­mo­da­tion for staff that may be sourced away from Ar­ran.

‘The de­vel­op­ment pro­poses a new class of ac­com­mo­da­tion de­signed to not sig­nif­i­cantly com­pete with what is al­ready avail­able on the is­land, thereby bring­ing new vis­i­tors who will boost the econ­omy, whilst re­mov­ing the ex­ist­ing eye­sore that res­i­dents and vis­i­tors ap­proach­ing Brod­ick have en­dured for the past decade.’

A new artist’s im­pres­sion of the pro­posed ho­tel on the old McLaren Ho­tel site shows a nar­rower frontage and ad­di­tional park­ing al­lo­ca­tion.

The new view from the rear, presently over­grown with trees.

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