A parish council has opposed a luxury hotel extending on to “highly valued local green space” after seafront residents responded they were against the four-star Carlyon Bay Hotel’s plans to build a series of eco-lodges on land currently used by locals.

The Brend Hotel Group, which owns the hotel near St Austell, had sought pre-application advice from Cornwall Council to modernise the hotel, which was built almost 100 years ago.

The hotel group wants to evolve and develop the cliff-top hotel to “meet the current and future demand for different types of tourist accommodation, and for it to achieve the aspiration of five-star status”. It has submitted a ‘vision’ illustrating how it wants develop the Carlyon Bay Hotel over the next few years.

The plans include seven single-storey eco-lodges which it says “fully maximise sea views while having regard to the sensitivity of the cliff-top location and adjoining homes” on Carlyon Bay’s Sea Road. The lodges would be built on West Crinnis Fields, land currently leased by the hotel to Carlyon Parish Council until the end of 2026.

The company confirmed to the council that there would be no opportunity to ‘roll-over’ or to extend this current arrangement, as the land is integral to its plans to enhance the hotel’s tourism offer. Aside from the public rights of way, public access would no longer be permitted following the expiry of the current lease.

Brend was consulted on the designation of West Crinnis Fields as Local Green Space in the Neighbourhood Development Plan in 2017, and again in 2019, and did not raise any objections at those times. Since it was last consulted in 2019 the company has produced its ‘vision’ for developing the hotel on that land.

However, the parish council has now thrown a spanner in the hotel’s works following a public consultation.

The hotel’s plans were presented to Carlyon Parish Council in December 2022 and, as the Neighbourhood Development Plan was still in draft form, the council agreed to undertake a further consultation with residents to determine if the community wished to amend the Local Green Space designation in West Crinnis Fields to accommodate the Brend Group’s vision for the eco-lodges.

The consultation, which was produced in conjunction with Brend and Cornwall Council, found that 62 per cent of residents responding were against the hotel using the green land. Consequently, the parish council this week voted in accordance with the majority of residents and agreed that the Local Green Space designation would not be amended.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Carlyon Parish Council fully appreciate how disappointing this decision was for Brend Hotels and will continue to engage with the Brend team to identify alternative ways that the hotel can meet its aspirations, without compromising what residents deem as highly valued local green space.”

The Brend Group has previously said it may consider offering the council a lease for the residual land around to the south of the new lodges, together with a commitment to deliver landscape and biodiversity enhancements for the benefit of the local community.

As part of its plans, Carlyon Bay Hotel also wants to provide additional accommodation by increasing the height of the main hotel building. This would involve adding an additional storey of guest accommodation. There are also plans for a new spa facility replacing its current offer with a contemporary designed two-storey building. A new glazed link would link the hotel with the new facility.

The hotel was built in 1925 and was the first hotel at Carlyon Bay, originally called the St Austell Bay Hotel. The Carlyon Bay Hotel became part of the Brend Hotel Group (BHG) in 1982 and later achieved four-star status in 1985. The Brend family have continually invested in improving the facilities at both the hotel and its championship golf course. This led to the hotel winning the Conde Nast Johannsen’s Award for Excellence in 2013, as well being awarded the Gold Award at the South West Tourism Awards 2020/21 in the Large Hotel of the Year category.

Carlyon Parish Council’s recommendations will be considered by Cornwall Council planners when ultimately deciding upon any application.

We have contacted the company for a response to the parish council’s decision.