Priory Bay Hotel is far more than just a beautiful country house hotel by the sea. With its idyllic setting, and spectacular sea views, it has over a thousand years of history: originally the site of a medieval monastery, the main hotel building has evolved over the centuries to become the quintessential Grade II-listed country house retreat that it is today.
When we acquired the property in December 2021, we were only too aware of its unique atmosphere and architectural legacy so we’re determined to ensure that any development was not only commercially viable but also upheld these qualities. For this reason, although planning permission had already been secured by the former owners, for a total transformation across the estate, we nevertheless sought the advice of several independent consultants so as to safeguard the heritage of the destination for local residents and tourists alike.
As owners of the property, we are also island residents and so understand the importance of working with and integrating into the local communities of Nettlestone and Seaview. We share their commitment to protecting the Priory. Furthermore, we fully understand that for the venture to be commercially viable, not only must the natural beauty and local heritage of the property be respected but also its place in the local community.
We are, therefore, looking at ways to strike a balance that achieves these objectives and, as such, are currently exploring options for revising the existing proposals; in particular, by removing fifty-six planned lodges and replacing them with alternative significantly lower density accommodation, the specification of which is yet to be confirmed but which will befit, and harmonise with, the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Given that the land is a development site, it has been necessary to install boundary fencing along a section of Bridleway R84, the primary purpose of which is to safeguard the health and safety of the public throughout the construction process. We will also be implementing a signage strategy to warn any members of the public who might stray from the public rights of way on the coastline. As we are in regular contact with both the Isle of Wight and Parish Councils, we are thus aware of public concerns that these fences restrict the use of more direct paths across the former golf course that some members of the public have been using without express permission either from us or former land owners. Regretfully, health and safety regulations mean that this fencing must stay in place until works are complete. We are also committed to assisting in the re-opening of footpath R89, as soon as possible, to reinstate the circular route around the hotel site.
Above all, the Priory Bay Hotel is a fundamental part of local heritage. As such, we aim to ensure that the historic listed buildings are sensitively restored and that any development within the property blends seamlessly with the natural landscape. Our ultimate goal is to achieve a commercially viable project within the context of a vibrant local business that supplements and enriches the local community.
We will be using our website (www.priorybay.co.uk) as a public noticeboard to communicate future updates, including timescales.
Priory Bay Property Limited