PLANS have been approved for the conversion of a former Lake District guesthouse into an 'aparthotel' and self-catering holiday unit.

Lairbeck House on Vicarage Hill in Keswick dates back 150 years, first being used as a family home before becoming a successful hotel in 1973, being used as such for around 50 years.

The hotel was up for sale between 2016 and 2022, being listed unsuccessfully for sale for six years.

Neighbours had worried that the property may fall into disrepair and 'blight the area' before it was purchased in 2022.

Plans were submitted to the Lake District National Park authority in December 2023 for the change of use of the guest house to an aparthotel with six letting units and a dwelling for use as either a self-catering holiday unit or principal residence at the Lairbeck House.

This application was reported to a LDNPA planning committee by the town council because the recommendation to approve with conditions is 'contrary to the objection of Keswick Town Council'.

The council said it would support the provision of five local occupancy dwellings and one principal dwelling, provided a 'local occupancy condition' was placed on all dwellings, or support the provision of a six-unit aparthotel, provided the separate dwelling is subject to a local occupancy condition and designated for use as onsite management of the facility.

In a officer's report, the Lake District National Park Authority said that the supporting information indicated that the former guesthouse has previously been served by manager/owner’s accommodation, however this is not a planning requirement of the existing use, and a guesthouse can be operated without owner’s or manager’s accommodation.

 As such, given the similarities between the existing and proposed uses and the site context as outlined above, the absence of onsite manager’s accommodation is not considered to be sufficient to warrant refusal of this application, the officers said.

The application was passed by the Lake District National Park planning committee subject to a number of conditions.