‘It’s a unique part of the holiday industry’ - bid to take guesthouse away from Great Yarmouth street is refused

Trafalgar Road in Great Yarmouth in 1998. The traditional guesthouse street, which regularly wins floral awards, has kept up its appearance over the years. Trafalgar Road in Great Yarmouth in 1998. The traditional guesthouse street, which regularly wins floral awards, has kept up its appearance over the years.

Friday, January 24, 2014
2:37 PM

A man cannot turn his seaside guesthouse into a residential dwelling to care for his “rude” uncle, planning councillors have ruled.

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John Wheeler, owner of the Rembrandt guesthouse, in Trafalgar Road, said he bought the property seven months ago.

But when his uncle, who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome, moved in with them their plans changed.

“Originally my parents were going to do it as a guesthouse, but my uncle moved down from London when my nan and grandad died,” said Mr Wheeler. “He’s disabled and has got Tourette’s and swearing - we thought we would turn it residential to look after him.”

He added it would not be feasible to operate the Rembrandt as a guesthouse with his uncle there as “he drinks too much and is quite rude to people”.

Mr Wheeler’s bid to make the seven-bedroom property a residential dwelling was recommended for approval by council officers as they deemed it would not have a “significant or detrimental impact” on the area.

He argued there were other residential properties near to the guesthouse, and said with five members of family living there were few rooms left to let.

“What’s left is only small rooms and to let those out would be a bit of a nightmare really,” he said.

But his application was met with a wave of opposition from neighbouring guesthouses, and from councillors at Tuesday’s development control meeting.

Michael Jeal, borough councillor for Nelson ward, said: “This is one of the finest roads in my ward.

“If there’s ever a way of changing this back to primary holiday use we should do it and I’m totally opposed to changing it to residential.”

The last attempt to turn the street from secondary to primary holiday use was in 2010, when 21 guesthouses were surveyed.

A total of 17 supported the principle, with one against and the remaining three vacant properties or declining to comment.

Karen Youngs, project director of the tourist authority, wrote that the area “bucked the trend” by maintaining a high number of guests, regularly winning awards for its floral displays and “continually improving its standards”.

Objections were lodged from owners of Tudor Guest House, Kilbrannan Guest House, the Marina Guest House, the Shrewsbury Guest House, the Marlborough Guest House and from Great Yarmouth Residents Association and Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority.

And at the meeting Charles Marsden, councillor for Yarmouth North ward, said he feared allowing the Rembrandt to become residential could trigger a spiral of decline.

“That’s a lovely area, like how Kent Square used to be,” he explained. “And maybe it could turn out to be another Kent Square with HMOs [houses of multiple occupancy].”

Charles Reynolds, councillor for Ormesby ward, told the meeting: “It’s a unique part of the holiday industry so it should be turned down. “Sometimes you’ve got to stand up for things and if there’s an appeal we will see how it goes.”

The application was refused, against officers’ advice, by eight votes to three.

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