Golf ball collision fears raised in holiday lodge plan

The Links Hotel in West Runton has submitted a bid to build nine lodges in its grounds. PHOTO: ANTON

The Links Hotel in West Runton. - Credit: ANTONY KELLY

Wayward drives off the tee hitting guests are among the fears raised by plans to build holiday lodges on a north Norfolk golf course.

Scores of objections have been submitted against plans to build eight holiday lodges at The Links Hotel in West Runton, including concerns about the impact on the landscape and the lack of protection from flying golf balls.

But the owner, Marc Mackenzie, has promised mitigations plans are in place, with nets and a change of the direction of play planned.

This is the second time plans to build holiday lodges on the site have gone before North Norfolk District Council (NNDC).

In 2017, a bid to build six lodges was refused because the plans would have a "significant detrimental impact on the special qualities of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)".

The latest proposal would see eight two-bedroom lodges built off Station Close, on a strip of land wedged between the Cromer-Sheringham railway line and the fairway of the Links' golf course's fourth hole.

How the lodges, The Links Hotel in West Runton hopes to build, will look.

How the lodges, The Links Hotel in West Runton hopes to build, will look. - Credit: Chaplin Farrant

The Mackenzie Hotel Group, the company behind the plans, has been wanting to add lodges to the Links for several years.

The group then worked with the council on another application last year - which would have seen nine lodges built along the railway line and included some one-bedroom units.

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But the latest plans show that one of the units has been removed and the remaining ones would occupy a smaller part of the strip. 

NNDC's development committee will be examining the latest proposals next Thursday, with officers recommending refusal.

Ahead of the committee meeting, objections have been raised by a parish council, conservation groups, NNDC officers and 45 members of the public. Twenty-three people wrote in support of the plans.

Runton Parish Council said the development could "potentially create danger from users of the golf course", is "inappropriately sited" and is contrary to NNDC's own policies on protecting the landscape.

NNDC's environmental health team also criticised the lack of measures to protect lodgers from golf ball collisions and potential light pollution from the site.

Supporters have argued the plans would boost local holiday accommodation, create jobs and support the opening of the hotel's facilities to the wider community.

A letter to NNDC from the developer said the lodges were needed to help offset losses from declining membership.

Mr Mackenzie said the plans would keep the hotel viable for the future while they compete against companies like Airbnb and the impact on the AONB would be reduced as trees grow.