Proposals for UK’s first ‘caravan hotel’ in St Leonards

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Developers have put forward plans to convert a vacant former bank building in St Leonards into the UK’s first “caravan hotel”.

In an application submitted to Hastings Borough Council, developers are seeking permission to convert a former HSBC branch in Norman Road into “a hotel using caravans as indoor accommodation.”

According to developers, the hotel – to trade as Sleeper – would be the first of its kind in the UK, with seven caravans for rent surrounded by communal living space.

In its application, a spokesman for the developers said: “Sleeper will be a boutique indoor caravan hotel, the first of its kind in the UK, with vintage caravans converted into luxury double bedrooms in themed surroundings offering a unique B&B experience.

“The boutique hotel would not offer any cooked meals and therefore, there would be no cooking facilities on site, with the hotel only providing ‘continental’ breakfast options.

“Each caravan has been internally refurbished into a quality double bedroom with all cooking facilities removed.”

The lack of cooking facilities, developers say, would remove the need for extractor fans and ensure the residents living in flats above the bank building are not disturbed. It would also operate with strict noise rules, developers say.

Developers also say the project is inspired by Berlin’s Hüttenpalast Hotel, which has been trading in the German capital since 2009.

The proposal also includes plans to renovate the outside of the building, creating a hotel shopfront.

The proposal has already gained the support of the borough council’s marketing and major projects manager (and 1066 Country tourism board member) Kevin Boorman.

In a letter to council planners, Mr Boorman said: “This is an innovative way of creating quirky visitor accommodation, which I think would be ideal for its location.

“Hastings has a shortage of quality accommodation, particularly in the most popular visitor areas, and, properly done, this could be a profitable business creating jobs, expanding the visitor economy and generating positive publicity for the town.”