PLANS for a temporary dive centre at Bouley Bay have been approved – providing a home for the business while the former Water’s Edge Hotel is demolished and rebuilt as a luxury home.
The centre is currently based in the lower ground floor of the empty hotel and will return to roughly the same spot when the new building is completed in two to three years’ time. A café will also open next door.
The redevelopment of the hotel was approved by the Planning Committee in October, but a separate application – proposing that the dive centre should move to temporary cabins on the car parking spaces between the Water’s Edge and the German bunker – was rejected.
Members of the committee were concerned about the loss of parking while the work took place.
In January, the family behind the development, with their advisers, came up with a new solution, which has now been approved by Planning.
A temporary diving centre will be created on the viewing platform above the German bunker, which is halfway between the slipway and the hotel, next to the public toilets.
The large redundant winch in the middle of the platform will be removed and returned when the centre moves into its new permanent home.
The temporary centre will be a ‘bespoke timber frame’ construction.
In approving the application, Planning officer Lawrence Davies wrote: ‘Such a structure would not be acceptable in this protected coastal location in the long-term; however, as a short-term solution to enable the dive centre to continue to operate, the development is considered to be acceptable.’
The department received 56 letters of support from the public and none in opposition.
Mr Davies added: ‘It is acknowledged that there is a risk that the main hotel redevelopment could take longer than expected (for example, if there are contractual issues which lie beyond the planning process), and that there may be calls for the temporary structure to be in place for longer than the two-to-three-year period anticipated.
‘It is proposed to impose a condition as part of the permission requiring the building to be removed from the site by the end of a period of four years, come what may. If a request is received to extend the permission at this time, then this would be considered on its merits.’