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Gogglebox couple Dom and Steph Parker in Salutation B&B plan shock

By Eleanor Perkins

A retrospective application for The Salutation’s change of use, submitted by Mr Parker in July this year, suggests formal permission is not in place. Its website claims it’s “the finest place to stay in Kent".

Steph and Dom Parker

Steph and Dom Parker

The property’s planning history, available to view on Dover District Council’s website, shows no request has been submitted before now.

The couple's spokesman Simon Clubley, said: “We have put a planning application in and we have nothing more to say.”

The Knightrider Street Grade I Listed home has 17 bedrooms and three bespoke and self-contained properties.

Mr and Mrs Parker, known as “the posh couple” on Channel 4’s Gogglebox, bought the building in 2003 for a reported £2.6million.

Formerly a private residence, they renovated the house and garden, rebranded as The Secret Gardens of Sandwich.

They turned it into an upmarket bed and breakfast, later appearing on Channel 4’s Four in a Bed.

A one-night stay cost ranges between £160 to more than £300.

In April 2013 it was put on the market. It now has a potential buyer who has met with
Sandwich Town Council to explain his plans to turn it a five-star hotel with a Michelin star restaurant.

Two associated planning applications were submitted earlier this year requesting permission to use the building and grounds for hotel, restaurant and cafe, and ancillary retail uses, including the hosting of weddings and public admittance to gardens, together with car parking.

The other application is for internal alterations including the installation of a commercial kitchen.

A number of residents are objecting to planning permission for extending hours of amplified music but few are concerned about the continued use of The Salutation as a hotel.

The Salutation in Sandwich

The Salutation in Sandwich

Richard Kimber said: “It would never occur to members of the public, whether Sandwich residents, guests or visitors to the Salutation, or viewers of their website or television appearances that the owners appear to have no formal planning permission for use as an hotel, so it is hardly surprising that the council has received no complaints about such use.”

He added: “I fear that this retrospective application for change of use would facilitate a change of ownership as an hotel and oppose the application in its present form.”

Most residents fear an increase in noise levels if the plans were approved.

Anne Pollen said: “I do not object to the continued use of The Salutation as a hotel or restaurant but would strongly object to any increase of outside music at events and would beg you to consider banning all amplified music.”

Town clerk Laura Fidler said: “The councillors who met with the potential new owner and were satisfied that his plans for the Salutation will be beneficial to the local community and tourism, as such it was agreed to positively support both applications.”

Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme said: “I understand the intention is to create a five-star hotel with a Michelin star restaurant and to interact more with people in the town.

“We have gained reassurance that they’re acting in the best interests of Sandwich.”

Press officer for Dover District Council, Andy Steele, said: 

A DDC spokesman said: “Information submitted with the application explains that the current mix of uses has evolved incrementally over time and recognises that some uses, for example the hotel, do not have planning permission. 

"The application seeks in part to regularise this situation whilst also proposing new elements such as enhancements to the restaurant facility.

“Applications that seek to regularise such situations are considered in the same way as other applications by assessing their merits against planning policies and any other relevant considerations. 

"The Council is still in the process of assessing this application and has not yet made a decision.”

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