Ban on redeveloping links hotel is ‘absurd’

Castletown Golf Links Hotel

Castletown Golf Links Hotel

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Heritage Homes has made a legal bid to quash a planning condition preventing it from redeveloping the Castletown Golf Links Hotel.

In the high court, the lawyer acting for the developer described as ‘perverse and absurd’ a condition in the Southern Area Plan that does not permit new or replacement buildings in Langness unless their use is connected with the golf course.

But Derbyhaven residents and the owner of the Castletown Golf Links, Philip Vermeulen, have challenged the move by Dandara.

They want the Golf Links Hotel to be retained as a hotel, and believe both landscape proposals relating to Langness in the Area Plan should be scrapped as their don’t afford sufficient protection for the area - and they argue a new plan should be developed specifically for the peninsula.

Fort Island Developments, in which Heritage Homes owns a 50 per cent stake, purchased the Golf Links Hotel in 2012 for £2.5 million. The landmark hotel had been closed since 2007.

South African businessman and Derbyhaven resident Philip Vermeulen believes the hotel is a national asset and should not be turned into flats.

Landscape proposal LP21 states that ‘new or replacement buildings on Langness should not be permitted except for use ancillary to the operation and use of the golf course or, in the case of the former hotel site, for hotel accommodation’.

Elsewhere, the Area Plan states that proposals for redevelopment of the hotel will not be permitted unless it can be demonstrated it’s no longer commercially viable.

In court, Heritage Homes’ advocate Tom Maher said the government accepted LP21 should be removed. He told the court: ‘LP21 is a perverse, unlawful policy. Everybody now agrees this should not be there - it’s absurd. Government concedes an error was made. The politicians over-ruled the expert civil servants.’

He pointed out LP21 applies to the whole of the Langness E11 area which includes Derbyhaven. And he claimed the challenge by Mr Vermeulen, the Golf Course company he owns and the Derbyhaven Residents’ Society, was an ‘apparent attempt to frustrate any development’ of the hotel. He argued Mr Vermeulen appeared motivated by commercial factors. A deferred judgment is expected.

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