Seahouses hotel to be used to address staffing issues on the Northumberland coast

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A hotel on the north Northumberland coast is to be turned into staff accommodation.

Earlier this year The Links Hotel in Seahouses was bought by the Inn Collection Group (ICG), which also owns the Bamburgh Castle Inn just a few hundred yards away.

It has now secured change of use permission from Northumberland County Council as it seeks to address the shortage of suitable accommodation for its staff.

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"The provision of suitable, affordable and available accommodation for staff is essential for hospitality businesses to survive,” explained a report by planning consultants on ICG’s behalf.

The Links Hotel in Seahouses.The Links Hotel in Seahouses.
The Links Hotel in Seahouses.

"ICG acquired The Links Hotel in Seahouses in March. The hotel had been on the market since July 2021 with only two viewings taking place. The sales agent notes from these enquiries that staff shortages across the sector and difficulty in recruiting bar and serving staff was a key concern for potential buyers and this had been a significant challenge for the vendors in recent years.

"ICG’s proposals to use the site for staff accommodation will help ensure they can recruit and retain a workforce to sustain its existing hotels which support the tourism and visitor economy in Northumberland and locally within Seahouses.”

The previous owners, Julie Dawson and Malcolm Sutton had owned the hotel for 22 years and decided to sell to pursue other business interests.

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The Bamburgh Castle Inn, the ICG’s flagship pub overlooking Seahouses harbour, was refurbished and expanded last year.

The planning report adds: “Although the change of use will result in the loss of 10 bedrooms of visitor accommodation, ICG has recently refurbished the Bamburgh Castle Inn to create 12 additional guest bedrooms.

"As such ICG’s investment has resulted in a net increase in visitor accommodation within Seahouses, as well as additional restaurant covers in the bar area encouraging visitors.”

The application, which received no objections, was approved using delegated powers.

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Planning officer James Wellwood stated: “The proposal would help to sustain an existing hotel business which in turn will help to facilitate the potential for Northumberland to be a destination for a range of types of holiday.”

A condition of permission includes that the premises must only be used for staff accommodation and no unit shall be occupied as a person's sole or main place of residence.