ONE of Scarborough's biggest hotels has been given the go-ahead to build a controversial £6 million extension which will double its room capacity.
An amended planning application by the owners of the Crown Spa Hotel was approved by councillors yesterday despite objections from people living nearby.
The hotel's first application to build an eight-storey extension at the back of the grade two listed building in Esplanade was refused in May.
Councillors felt the extension would be too dominant and harmful to the conservation area.
The hotel owners said the amended plan was aimed at minimising the dominance of the building by setting back the two upper floors to keep them out of sight of Crown Terrace and Belmont Road.
At a meeting Scarborough Council's planning sub committee (urban), planning officer Marcus Whitmore said: "There are strong economic benefits to the scheme. I think now the height issue has been overcome."
The first phase of the construction, which will begin next year, will involve adding a mansard roof at the front of the hotel to provide an extra 22 bedrooms. It is expected to be finished by March 2007 in time for the main conference season.
Work on the second phase should start by 2009. It will involve an extension at the back of the existing car park near Crown Terrace.
It includes events suites and an extra 53 bedrooms taking the total number of available rooms at the hotel to 161.
The managing director of hotel owners Chariet Ltd, Richard Frank, said: "We are absolutely delighted. It has been recognised that tourism is one of the lifebloods of the town.
"This is going to help us get four-star status and that will put us on the map. There is no four-star hotel on the East Coast from Sunderland to Suffolk.
"This is going to enhance the Spa's ability to attract conferences, which have stopped coming to Scarborough because we haven't got a four-star hotel and it will breathe confidence into a lot of businesses in the town."
The application was approved despite criticism from the Crown Terrace Residents' Association, Scarborough Civic Society and English Heritage.
Among the issues concerning the objectors were parking, noise and the size of the extension.