Disappointment at shelved hotel plans
Ian ClarkeThe boss of a council-owned Norfolk hotel complex has admitted he was 'disappointed' that the authority had shelved �3m investment for expansion - but remains hopeful it could still happen in the future.Ian Clarke
The boss of a council-owned Norfolk hotel complex has admitted he was 'disappointed' that the authority had shelved �3m investment for expansion - but remains hopeful it could still happen in the future.
Breckland Council bought the Barnham Broom golf and hotel several years ago and had earmarked the extra money for a redevelopment scheme.
Last week the council revealed it had put the investment on hold due to the economic downturn.
Speaking for the first time since Breckland made the decision - Barnham Broom management said the postponement was a 'temporary setback and should not deter from the long-term vision to expand the complex which could play a key part in boosting tourism in Norfolk in the future.'
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Planning permission has just recently been renewed and extended to enable the Barnham Broom site to be expanded with up to an additional 49 bedrooms.
Managing director Noel Byrne said: 'We are disappointed that just at the time we have managed to secure the necessary planning consent we are now in such a turbulent period of economic uncertainty. We fully understand why Breckland Council's decision has been taken, given the current outlook.
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'However, we feel such an investment in tourism and jobs, once economic conditions improve, will be a considerable boost not only to Barnham Broom but also to South Norfolk generally and we hope Breckland will be able to put these plans back on the drawing board as soon as it possibly can.
Mr Byrne added: 'In the meantime, we believe an upgrade to four-star status could considerably strengthen the existing business and we are working closely with Breckland Council to see how this can be achieved.'
He said the installation last year of a luxury suite of spa treatment rooms has proved to be a 'valuable addition' to the business.
Mr Byrne said: 'With domestic as well as inbound overseas tourism now increasing noticeably compared to recent years due to the rising costs of overseas holidays and leisure pursuits, Barnham Broom can play a key part in leading a recovery in local economic activity.'
Last week, Breckland leader William Nunn said: 'In view of the current economic climate we think it is prudent to defer that spending for this year.'
Labour group leader Robin Goreham said: 'I am delighted that that Barnham Broom Golf and Leisure capital project has been put back a year. This will allow further consideration of this controversial venture.'