Hotel developer vows to press on with scheme

Plans for the new hotel restaurant on Pride Parkway, Sleaford.
Plans for the new hotel restaurant on Pride Parkway, Sleaford.

There have been mixed opinions about plans for a new hotel and restaurant in Sleaford, but its developers are keen to press ahead.

Heckington-based Melbourne Holdings has applied for outline planning permission to build a 21-bed hotel with restaurant that could be expanded to 40-beds.

The £2m scheme would be sited on its land off Pride Parkway on Sleaford Enterprise Park.

Speaking to The Standard, company boss John Priestley said he thought the hotel would be ideally placed.

Mr Priestley, who also owns the Finch Hatton Arms Hotel at Ewerby, says principle users would be the clients, relatives and doctors associated with a private hospital proposed for the neighbouring plot.

He said according to a recent survey and his own experience of local business growth, demand was there.

The hotel and restaurant would create an estimated 22 new jobs, he added.

The plans have been critised by North Kesteven District Council’s (NKDC’s) Economic Development department through its role as a consultee.

In a submission available to view on the authority’s online planning pages, it describes the scheme as the ‘wrong hotel in the wrong location’.

It notes that the former Lincolnshire Oak was recently demolished due to lack of viability. However, it does suggest this site - along with the Maltings and land off the A15 - could be used for a new high-quality hotel.

None of these sites, Mr Priestley said, would be viable for some time - nor did he own the land.

He said: “NKDC cannot recommend us an alternative site. I am for the Maltings, but not while putting everything else on hold. Since we started developing the enterprise park it has created over 500 jobs. Sleaford needs the hotel and so does the hospital. We are ready to put the money in and go.”

Excited about the project, he hoped councillors would be convinced of the benefits.

NKDC’s online planning pages also includes comments from the public.

Rod Munro of Sleaford has said: “As a former director of operations with Marriott International, it is also my view that a two-floor restaurant will not survive in this location.

“The occupancy levels for the hotel will vary according to key events held in the county, however leisure guests would be turned off by the location, it is simply a poor destination.”