Sandwich Hotel’s plans for removable awning amid pandemic plunge people into collapse

Plans to erect a removable awning outside a hotel in Sandwich have proved controversial with local residents.

The owners of the Bell Hotel in Sandwich Quay say the structure is needed after a tough business year amid the pandemic, with more guests wanting to eat and drink outside.

But more than 30 residents objected, calling the simple off-white canopy a “major horror” and “monstrosity.”

Read more: Dover’s secret beaches deserted even on a hot summer day

Due to the volume of complaints, the plans will now be decided by a full district council planning committee this Thursday, August 12.

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Residents also raised concerns about a healthy tree that was felled “without the knowledge of the public” prior to the request.

The owners of Shepherd Neame hotels have said the canopy is “critical” to their business due to the pandemic.

A planning statement said: “Customer habits have changed and the need for quality outside of the commercial space has become increasingly evident as we move into the post-Covid era.

“Where outdoor areas were once the preserve of the summer months, the provision of covered areas for the extended season has become essential to the viability of businesses in the hospitality sector which have seen their prolonged shutdowns during the lockdown.

The Bell Hotel at Sandwich Quay

“The proposal is for the installation of a semi-permanent extendable tent structure on the existing lower west-facing (city) customer terrace.

“The proposed canopy structure is a large piece of waterproof material stretched over freestanding poles of varying heights to create a covered layout.

“The extendable tent awning effectively utilizes the area previously covered by a retractable canvas awning.”

Sandwich City Council officially backed the plans.

In an effort to appease residents who oppose it, the hotel has submitted photos of other historic buildings that have erected similar canopies.

Another example of the type of canopy offered

Local resident Ben Gardner was among dozens of people raising strong objections.

He said: “Using the provision of an extended season for hospitality due to the lockdown also raises the question of what will happen in colder weather.

“Are we pouring outdoor heaters used to keep customers warm when the British summer gives way to inclement weather?

“If so, what is the environmental impact of those that are used? What are the security implications of their use?

“Dover District Council has a duty to preserve the historic nature of central Sandwich rather than allowing the erection of a monstrosity like this, but also a moral obligation to ensure that underhand transactions are not not rewarded. “

Another resident, former District Councilor for the area, Paul Carter, said: “Can the Planning Department explain how the healthy tree that was outside the Bell Hotel was cleared to be? shot without public notice?

“As for the planning request for what is a very large white tent.

“It will not be removed every night, week or month, so it is permanent and should be honestly declared as such!

“This plastic and steel tent will be a major eyesore in an area of ​​great historical significance that does not appear to be considered.

“This planning request should be dismissed immediately and Shepherd Neame should be ashamed of suggesting such a cheesy addition to his Category 2 listed hotel.”

Dover District Council the planning committee will decide on the plans at a 6 p.m. meeting on Thursday, August 9.