Proposed Change of Use of the Milburn Arms Hotel
Proposed Change of Use of the Milburn Arms Hotel Rosedale Abbey has a problem, which threatens to dramatically damage its visitor economy and community life. David Ross and the Havelock Academy intends to apply for a 'change of use' for the Milburn Arms, in order to convert it into an outdoor centre for 11-18 year olds. The undersigned object to the change of use of the Milburn Arms from Hotel, Pub, and Restaurant to Outdoor Activity Centre and draw the NYMNP planers attention to Section 11A of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (as inserted by section 62 of the Environment Act 1995) states: "Duty of certain bodies and persons to have regard to the purposes for which National Parks are designated (1) A National Park authority, in pursuing in relation to the National Park the purposes specified in subsection (1) of section five of this Act, shall seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Park, but without incurring significant expenditure in doing so, and shall for that purpose co-operate with local authorities and public bodies whose functions include the promotion of economic or social development within the area of the National Park." The NYMNPA Local Development Framework: Core Strategy Development Policies notes [paragraph 2.10] "Tourism is the largest employer and income generator in the Park". Core Policy A [section 5] of this document includes: "Strengthening and diversifying the rural economy and providing tourism based opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the Park’s special qualities". Most relevant is development policy 15 [paragraph 8.24]: "DEVELOPMENT POLICY 15 Loss of Existing Tourism and Recreation Facilities Proposals that would result in the loss of an existing tourist or recreation facility will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the National Park Authority, that the business is no longer viable" Paragraph 8.25 provides: "The tourism sector has an important role in the local economy. Tourists are attracted to the Park by the range of tourism facilities and range of accommodation provision and therefore it is important to retain this range, particularly serviced accommodation such as hotels. The Authority seeks to retain existing facilities unless it can be robustly demonstrated that the business is no longer economically viable, through the submission of relevant financial information. The information will then be subject to an independent appraisal to determine the viability of the enterprise. A separate advice note, which sets out the information required in these circumstances will be produced by the Authority. This policy relates to tourist facilities with the exception of holiday cottages”. The Milburn Arms Hotel is an attractive listed building of historical interest and importance and sits at the heart of Rosedale Abbey. It is part of the fabric that makes up the Rosedale community and has made a major contribution to the social and economic prosperity of the area. The value of the Milburn Arms remaining part of the local community It is important to highlight what the Milburn Arms is to the Rosedale community. • Rosedale is fortunate in having a beautiful historical building in the centre of the village and local businesses have welcomed customers who have been attracted to the area, through the reputation of the Milburn Arms, as a high quality hotel, restaurant and pub. • As well as being a high-quality destination, drawing in visitors and tourists, the Milburn Arms has been a major asset to community life. It is where marriages, births and anniversaries were celebrated and where you headed to experience ‘community spirit’ during a power cut. • The hotel & restaurant can employ between 15 and 24 full-time staff (confirmed by previous managers). This will not be possible if the application for ‘Change of Use’ is approved. • The Milburn Arms has supported the Football Club, the Infants and Junior School and the Rosedale & District Agricultural Show, it is a real asset to the Rosedale community and any change to the heart of the village has an impact on the whole community. • Rosedale Abbey is short of residential accommodation for visitors. The village needs to attract staying visitors who support the community and businesses by spending locally, rather than just day visitors who typically arrive by car in the morning and leave by late afternoon without contributing to the local economy. The Marks & Spencer effect Economists talk about the Marks and Spencer Effect: If Marks and Spencer close a store in the centre of a town the surrounding businesses don’t profit from the closure, they don’t see an increase in sales, in fact the opposite occurs. The loss of a major attraction means visitors have one less reason to come to that area and all businesses suffer as a consequence. Why not ask the businesses in Rosedale if they have benefited from the closure of the Milburn Arms. Have they had feedback from visitors regarding the closure of the Milburn Arms? The value of the Milburn Arms becoming an Outward Bound Centre David Ross has no need to give away the Milburn Arms to the Havelock Academy. He has any number of other suitable sites within his Rosedale and Westerdale Estate, for example Westerdale Lodge, which has previously been used as a Youth Hostel for many years. Ho could offer one of these sites and allow one of the approaches to purchase the property, or lease on more reasonable terms, to go ahead? That logical approach would allow Mr Ross to satisfy his desire to support The Havelock Academy – having its own outward-bound centre in the National Park is undoubtedly a wonderful idea. But it would also allow prospective purchasers/ lessees the opportunity to regenerate the Milburn Arms. That way, he would be supporting both communities and Rosedale residents would again benefit from a vibrant business and community centre.