Further delay to Alice in Wonderland Hotel development in Llandudno described as ‘backwards step’

HAVE plans for this site in Penmorfa been kicked into the long grass?

That is the question being asked after a full planning application – due to be submitted this Summer 2021 – failed to materialise.

Earlier this year, Anwyl Homes appointed a development team and a consultation process was planned for the Spring.

The developer has since said that they had been hit by building costs as well as other issues, but they remain “committed” to ensuring the West Shore site is developed.

Phil Dolan, managing director for Anwyl Homes Cheshire and North Wales, said: “Due to the ongoing impact of Covid on build costs and our supply chain, there is a need to keep all sites under review to ensure they are viable to develop at the right time. This is particularly important for apartment developments which require substantial financial resource and many specialist contractors and suppliers due to their bespoke nature.

“Options for this site remain under regular review and we remain committed to the long-term future of the Penmorfa site.”

The former house, later a hotel, was the second home of Alice Liddell, the girl said to have inspired the Alice in Wonderland tales.

Despite a campaign to save the venue, the hotel was reduced to rubble in 2008 to make way for flats

Janet Finch-Saunders, Aberconwy MS, described the delay as a “backwards step”.

“I was in firm opposition to the demolition of this wonderful building, now over a decade ago, along with many other local residents. The Gogarth Abbey Hotel was an iconic part of the Llandudno landscape and remains a great loss to our historical heritage,” she said.

“To have now taken such a backwards step in the plans for this location is a smack in the face to those residents who hold legitimate concerns about Anwyl’s proposed development of the Bodafon Fields/Nant y Gamar Road contingency site, showing a complete disregard for the wishes of local residents.

“As I said in a speech to the Senedd just last month, I remain clear that sites which have long been allocated for development must always be built on before any contingency comes into play. This is why I feel that the repurposing of the Gogarth site should be progressed and approved before any developers should consider the contingency site which borders the Bodafon green wedge.

“Continued inaction on this development means that the location remains a sorry scar on the landscape, failing to address the need for affordable and quality housing across the region. I urge Anwyl to rethink its plans for our area, asking them to bring forward proposals that will be very sensitive and sympathetic to the historical heritage of the location.”

Penmorfa was built in 1862 for the father of Alice Liddell. The house was added to over the years and became the Gogarth Abbey Hotel.

According to historypoints.org, during the Second World War, the hotel was taken over as the officer’s mess for the coastal gunnery school.

In the 1970s scenes for TV adverts for PG Tips were filmed at the hotel, using chimps dressed as humans. Among the visitors were members of major business families including Cadbury (chocolate), Pilkington (glass) and Wedgewood (pottery).

Businessman and Conservative MP Basil de Ferranti arrived by helicopter, which landed on the hotel’s lawn.

In 2004, designs were released for more than 25 apartments incorporating the Penmorfa hotel.

In 2017, the Pioneer reported that artist’s impressions, for 51 single and two bedroom apartments on the former Penmorfa site, had been released.

In 2018, Anwyl Homes said works were underway to adapt the scheme and planning permission would be requested soon.

The site has continued to lie empty.

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno