60 new jobs as Lake District hotel expands

MORE than 60 jobs have been created by hotel owners who are adding the finishing features to their controversial multi-million pound project at the Waterside Hotel, in Grasmere, which is set to open at the end of July after the Victorian venue was part-demolished and doubled in size.

The hotel has been a subject of debate since 2008, when it was purchased by hospitality entrepreneurs Tom Harwood, who died a year ago, and wife Eileen.  The Blackpool pair, who lived in the Lake District for more than 40 years, developed the Stonecross Manor, in Kendal, and the Craig Manor, in Bowness. However they generated hundreds of letters of protest with plans to redevelop the site.

 The Lake District National Park Authority refused the first two alteration plans for the 1855 building, originally called the Prince of Wales. The planning application was opposed by many residents and celebrities including artist Rolf Harris and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg.  However, plans were passed later in 2008 and around 60 workmen have been involved in the development.

“It was Tom’s vision to make a deserving hotel for the area. It was run down and many of the bedrooms faced the road.  Now, almost all the bedrooms will face the lake or look out over the fells in Grasmere. We’ve changed the demographic we are aiming at - now we expect less coach groups and more high paying leisure guests.”

Lakes parish councillor Paul Truelove said: “This is a massive development. The hotel is twice the size of anything else in Grasmere. They’ve done a good job with the way it looks by using reclaimed slate but it’s too early to say if the hotel will cause light pollution across the lake or if the car parking will be adequate for guests and not cause problems in the village.”