A hotel in Haslemere is to be expanded and upgraded after a £13m transformation plan was given the green light by planning officials.
The planners waved through the proposal to turn Lythe Hill into a five-star hotel despite officer recommendations rejecting the plan, citing that the project would cause harm to the ‘ancient woodland’ surrounding the hotel.
Both Haslemere Town Council and Haslemere Chamber of Commerce backed the plan, which was first submitted for approval two years ago.
The project will see the 15th century Grade-II listed farmhouse converted into a restaurant with bedrooms, a new wedding and conference venue created and the introduction of a new spa and series of dining spaces.
Bedrooms will increase by around 75 and staff will more than double from 42 to 100.
Lythe Hill, which is siatuted in the green belt and an area of ancient woodland – Lythe Hill Copse, is part of the China UCF Group, a conglomerate led by businessman Zhang Zhenxin, and has been in the portfolio since 2015.
The group also acquired Old Thorns Hotel in 2013.
Managing director Cathal Lynch said: “We are delighted that Waverley Borough Council has granted full planning consent.
“This is a pivotal moment in the extended history of Lythe Hill. I am sure generations of patrons will have cause to be grateful for the council’s vision and commitment to the future of Lythe Hill, the borough of Waverley, and the wider Surrey and Sussex areas.
“We will now press ahead with creating an iconic hotel that Surrey can be proud of and call its own.