Spa plan set for decision

PROPOSALS to transform an art gallery into a luxury spa adjoining a prominent hotel will go before planning officers this week.

The Swan in Lavenham is seeking permission to change the Wildlife Art Gallery, which is next door to the part Grade II and Grade I listed hotel, into a spa compromising seven treatment rooms.

The application is being put forward by the timber framed building’s owners - Thorpeness and Aldeburgh Hotels Ltd - and is set to be decided upon by Babergh District Council’s development committee on Wednesday.

If approved a pair of two story extensions would be constructed to house the facility on the site in High Street, with the existing gallery linked to the hotel and a new courtyard created to include hydro and plunge pools.

A reception, changing areas and store rooms would also feature in the extensions, while nine full time members of staff would be expected to run the spa during its opening hours of 7am till 9pm seven days a week.

The gallery would relocate into another shop in the street owned by the hotel.

Despite this the plans have caused concern for members of Lavenham Parish Council who have outlined, in a report created for Wednesday’s meeting, that although they support the concept of the proposal they are worried about the height of the new buildings.

Councillors are also worried about the loss of green space in the village’s Conservation Area, the removal of trees and a potential increase in noise nuisance.

The district council has also received two letters of representation against the plans citing the development would lead to more cars parking on Lady Street and Walter Street and claiming the application lacks “sufficient detail”.

Although the applicant refuted these worries in the report.

“Officers have found no substantive harm from the development proposed so the job creation and economic benefits add weight to the acceptability of the proposal,” the company said.

The plans have been recommended for approval.