Planning permission has been granted for a new Co-op food store in the grounds of a Barrow hotel.

At a meeting in the town hall on Tuesday, councillors on Barrow council’s planning committee gave the official go-ahead for plans to convert part of The Lisdoonie on Abbey Road.

The hotel’s function room will be changed into a Co-op convenience store with the creation of 15 jobs.

Former Barrow mayor Bill McEwan, a planning committee member, said it was a pity it could not have gone at the Marks and Spencer site in Dalton Road.

Councillor McEwan said national planning policies encouraged such developments in town centres or ‘edge of centre’ areas.

Cllr McEwan said: “I have no objection to the application at all, but to keep it more central could they not have used the up and coming Marks and Spencer site which is going to be closed? 

“With shops closing down, this would have been an ideal thing to have bang in the town centre.
Planning officer Maureen Smith said the applicant had tested ‘various options’ to site the store elsewhere, but alternative locations had to meet the developer’s requirements.

“They have gone through that test and they have looked at various sites and discarded them for a number of reasons,” said Ms Smith.

Planning panel member councillor Martin McLeavy, the Conservative member for Roosecote, asked what the situation was regarding trees at the site.

The hotel grounds are home to more than 20 trees and the council had put a tree preservation order on the site.

Mrs Smith said: “The applicant has engaged with us about the trees on the site. We have worked together to come up with a good set of proposals for the site, which includes retaining the trees on site which are in the best condition, taking out those in poor condition and extensive replanting which should provide trees of different ages and colours which is a positive as well.”

The 12-bed hotel has been owned, managed and run by the Cook family for more than 40 years, and 

there are plans to retain a smaller guesthouse.
Sansec Developments Ltd, the agents for the Co-op, applied to create the new food store from the hotel’s under-used conference wing.