This long-standing Sandown eyesore is to become flats

An eyesore Isle of Wight seafront hotel — which once hosted rock legend Jimi Hendrix — has been given the green light to undergo major changes.

The derelict and dilapidated Esplanade Hotel, fronting Sandown High Street and overlooking the sandy beach, will now be transformed into a block of apartments.

Of the 20 units, 14 will be for residential use while the remaining six will be rented out as holiday lets, to make the development viable, plans say.

The proposals were first submitted in June 2022 by Plaza Property Developments and now, nearly two years later, planning permission has been approved by the Isle of Wight Council.

In 1970, while the building was the Seagrove Hotel, rockstar Jimi Hendrix stayed the night before his famous Isle of Wight Festival set.

Information submitted to the council’s planning authority said the property development company bought the hotel in 2019 but it has not attempted to run the hotel due to its poor condition and the need for extensive repairs.

As a result, the hotel has been closed for years and, planning officers say, its poor condition is having a significant adverse impact on the quality of that part of Sandown and on the vibrancy and vitality of the High Street and Esplanade.

In their decision report, officers said while a large hotel in a prominent seafront location would be lost, given its current condition and the time the hotel has been vacant, as well as the impact it has combined with other vacant hotels in the area, there would be benefits to the change.

They said there would be a significant positive impact for the Island’s tourism economy as it would bring the site back into use, with residential and holiday use, while enhancing the Victorian building, site and surrounding area.

Officers said there would be sensitive alterations to the building, with windows, doors and balconies replaced.

The four buildings which make up the hotel would also be painted in pastel shades and some extensions would be demolished.

The developers will have to comply with 13 conditions including having to start within three years, specifying which flats are used for holiday accommodation and completing exterior and landscaping works.