Cornish hotel ordered to demolish rooms built for G7 summit

A rare example where development without planning permission has not got through the “retrospective approval” route much exploited in East Devon – Owl

Steven Morris 

A Cornish beachside hotel that built nine meeting rooms without planning permission claiming they were needed for the G7 summit has been ordered to demolish them because they have caused “very significant harm” to the landscape.

The Carbis Bay hotel built the rooms in three single-storey buildings before hosting last summer’s meeting of world leaders. It said it had pressed ahead without planning permission because of the urgency of the project.

The development led to protest marches on the beach with objectors pointing out that precious habitats and views had been ruined.

There was also anger that the hotel claimed the rooms were needed to provide space to host bilateral G7 talks when the UK government said it had not asked for extra work to be carried out.

The planning inspector Peter Jarratt highlighted objectors’ argument that the development “flew in the face” of the G7’s claimed green credentials.

He said: “There has been a significant public response to the unauthorised development and to the submitted retrospective planning application for reasons including the inappropriateness of the development and to the failure of the applicant to follow the due planning process. Many representations – some 350 to 400 – were received by the council.”

The National Trust, the South West Coast Path Association, the Cornwall branch of the Countryside Charity (CPRE) and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust all submitted objections.

“The construction of the meeting rooms in three single-storey buildings … has significantly and adversely affected the character and appearance of the area,” Jarratt said.

“I have found very significant harm to the character and appearance of the landscape. Although it is to the hotel’s considerable credit that it has hosted the G7 summit and now wishes to adapt the meeting rooms to holiday accommodation, the economic benefits arising from the development, despite attracting significant weight, are insufficient to outweigh the harm to the landscape.”

He upheld an enforcement notice from Cornwall council ordering the development to be removed. It is expected that the bill for the demolition work and restoration of the landscape will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The hotel declined to comment.