Iconic Brockenhurst hotel to downsize as B&B with tearooms
AN iconic Brockenhurst hotel looks set to downsize to become a bed-and-breakfast with tearooms under plans approved by the national park authority.
Parts of the existing art deco Cloud Hotel at Meerut Road will also be reconfigured to create two cottages which can be sold on the open market, and a further two self-contained holiday let cottages.
Documents submitted by hotel owner Christopher Legg said the establishment was currently not a viable business but by scaling down it could keep going.
The new B&B element would have seven bedrooms – a reduction of 10 from the current 17-bedroom hotel. However, there would be a further four bedrooms in the holiday cottages so the reduction in visitor accommodation overall would be six bedrooms.
Speaking in support of the application, at an online NPA planning committee meeting, planning agent James Thompson said that even before Covid-19, the business was not viable.
He added: “The number of car parking spaces is very limited and not suitable for a fully functioning hotel restaurant of this size. Our client can no longer use the hotel for larger functions and as a result this has further added to the loss of income.”
Mr Thompson said the restaurant and hotel had suffered a downturn in trade over more than a decade as visitors increasingly opted to eat out at alternative venues such as garden centres, farm shops and tearooms.
He said under current plans, the restaurant area would be reduced to match the number of rooms and operate as a tearoom only.
Brockenhurst Parish Council had opposed the application on the basis that a tearoom would generate more traffic than the hotel, leading to parking problems and erosion of verges.
NPA member Maureen Holding, from Brockenhurst, said: “Further along it’s open Forest and we do have a lot of people, not just patrons of The Cloud, abandoning their cars there, and not just in the official car parks, which does mess the land up an awful lot.”
However, she added: “With footfall, I don’t think it will make much difference because the hotel always did afternoon tea and morning coffee.”
The scheme was recommended for permission by NPA planning officers, and after a lengthy debate focusing on potential cycle storage the application was unanimously approved.
A spokesperson from the hotel said: "We would like to reassure guests old and new that The Cloud Hotel will be operating as normal for the rest of this year, so please come and see us."