Man gave up on Tintern hotel housing plan after years of delay

A DEVELOPER says he ran out of patience waiting for council planners to decide whether or not he could build houses on the site of a former hotel right opposite Tintern Abbey.
Man gave up on Tintern hotel housing plan after years of delay

The site has now been purchased by underwater research company DEEP, who have also taken over the former National Diving and Activity Centre near Chepstow, with new plans submitted to Monmouthshire Council to demolish part of the property and build a new hotel.

Having sold the property, Huw Jones from Crickhowell officially withdrew his original plans for new housing opposite one of Wales’ top historic sites last month, nearly six years after they were first put forward.

He claimed that building four new homes could have aided the redevelopment of the derelict hotel, which shut more than a decade ago.

The building is unsafe and has been a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

Previously known as the Beaufort Arms, it dates from the 18th century and is in the Tintern Conservation Area and the Wye Valley National Landscape overlooking the Abbey.

The homes would have been built on the hotel’s car park while it was also intended to convert a barn at the back of the hotel to residential accommodation.

Plans were submitted in November 2018 but it still hadn’t made a decision on whether planning permission should be recommended for approval or rejected, following several objections from local residents, before they were withdrawn last month.

Mr Jones owned the former Abbey Hotel at the time of the application, but sold the site towards the end of 2022.

“Nothing was getting done and it was going backwards and forwards so I was frustrated and gave up,” he said.

The original plans were for four homes, two two-bedroom semi-detached houses which would have been affordable and two, four-bedroom detached houses.

The plans were later amended to two new houses and the barn conversion which historic buildings body Cadw hadn’t objected to.

But frustrated with the lack of progress, he has since sold out to the firm behind the £100m deep sea research development project at the former diving centre.

The boarded-up Abbey Hotel on the Wye Valley road has become an eyesore overlooking the Grade 1-listed 12th Century Tintern Abbey.

Nearby is the Wild Hare Inn – the former Royal George Hotel – which has also been bought by DEEP, and is being refurbished.

The business is developing a huge underwater research campus at the former diving centre near Tidenham, with the aim of creating a habitable deep sea station.

Previously announcing on its website that it had taken over both venues in Tintern as well, it said: “DEEP’s village pub, The Wild Hare and, soon, The Abbey Hotel in Tintern are both a short off-road walk or cycle through the beautiful Wye Valley. Each provides gourmet, balanced dining and quiet comfortable accommodation for campus users.”

Tintern ward county councillor Ann Webb said at the time of the Abbey Hotel purchase: “This is brilliant news because it is such an important spot in the village.

“It has been an ongoing planning saga for many, many years and while all has been going on, the building has been deteriorating.

“All sorts of people have been getting in there and it has become an eyesore at the entrance to Tintern. I understand the new owner is planning on refurbishing it and using it as a hotel again.”

The Wild Hare - then the Royal George – was taken over by Richard Secular and wife Harriet Babbage in 2018, who renamed it.

They recently both stepped down as directors of The George Tintern Ltd, and the registered officers are now DEEP R&D Ltd company directors.

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