PLANS to convert office space into a small luxury boutique hotel in Kendal have been submitted to South Lakeland District Council.
The proposal for the space at Sands Aire House made by DMD (North West) ltd is to put in 17 en-suite bedrooms across the first and second floor.
Cllr Julia Dunlop, deputy mayor for Kendal, believes it is positive that people are looking to develop this part of the town, with plans for a new food hall next door looking to take shape soon.
“I think in Kendal there is quite a lot of accommodation but what we do not have is much choice in type of accommodation,” Cllr Dunlop said.
“We have budget, and we have high spec, but something like this would provide a different experience.
“I can see why they would think that there is a gap in the market.
“It is interesting and pleasing that people want to develop that end of the town.”
The office complex was under one ownership and have a series of office suites with access to communal kitchen and bathroom spaces. However, occupancy in the complex has been low, and falling, and there are frequently empty offices over a long time period. This low occupancy rate led to the decision to sell the complex. The building has six offices suites, but all are now empty.
“The building has been underused for a number of years, with long term vacancy for offices and it has been on the market for a number of years,” a planning statement said.
“There is clearly no demand for employment or office use here, and as such an alternative use will be an efficient use of any existing important building.
“This policy offering support for tourism development especially in Kendal and broadening the range of accommodation in the area is particularly emphasised as a policy need.
“There are only a few hotels in central Kendal, and these mainly cater to different markets.
“This will be one of the first boutique hotels in the town centre, drawing people into an historic building, in a highly sustainable location.
“The proposal has sought to protect and preserve those features of significance wherever possible, making only changes where essential for the operation of the building.
“Whilst some of the works may be considered to carry some degree of harm, they can be balanced against the provision of public access to the building which improves its illustrative values.”