Service with a smile 21 February 2020 Tom Kemble of the Pass at South Lodge cooks up a pumpkin masterclass and shares why it’s important for chefs to meet their customers
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Balmer Lawn hotel in the New Forest to undergo £4m expansion

27 January 2020 by
Balmer Lawn hotel in the New Forest to undergo £4m expansion

The 54-bedroom Balmer Lawn hotel in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, has revealed a £4m plan to expand with the addition of 38 bedrooms.

In a planning application lodged with New Forest National Park Authority the owners of the four-AA-silver star property for 22 years, Chris and Alison Wilson, said that the business was not sustainable without the two-storey extension.

The intention is to build a new stand-alone bedroom block, an extension to the hotel’s banqueting and conference facilities, an outbuilding for staff accommodation and parking in place of tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool and a run-down staff accommodation pavilion.

The planning application states: “With occupancy levels in the 70%’ range, financially the business is not sustainable, long term, without significantly increasing our room stock, event space and spa offerings. The additional 38 bedrooms will only see marginal increases in fixed costs offering a much greater contribution to both gross and net profit.”

An expanded event space will turn the hotel into the largest banqueting facility in the New Forest with the capacity to cater for a function for up to 240 guests.

Staff at the hotel will increase from 60 to 72 full timers, with an additional 10 team members employed during the summer as a result of the expansion, which is expected to take two to three years to complete.

The hotel’s general manager Michael Clitheroe has been working on the scheme for nearly two years in conjunction with architect Steve Sherlock.

The Wilsons bought the hotel in October 1997 when it was the three-star Hilton Ladbroke and have since invested heavily in the property, which today boasts a two-AA-rosette restaurant.

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