PLANS have been submitted to convert a Knutsford hotel into flats after it suffered a decline in business due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The owners of the Longview Hotel in Manchester Road are seeking permission to change the use of the building and transform it into seven one-bedroom studio apartments and one two-bedroom apartment.

According to a design and access statement, prepared by Mast Architecture on behalf of the applicants, says maintaining the hotel as a viable business became 'increasingly difficult' during the pandemic.

It adds:  "The Covid-19 pandemic necessitated temporary closures of hotels to prevent the spread of the virus.

"When hotels were allowed to reopen, they faced challenges in attracting bookings due to people's apprehension about travel and the cancellation of events.

"Moreover, the hotel heavily relied on business travel, which was severely impacted.

"Consequently, maintaining the hotel as a viable business became increasingly difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting the need for diversification.

"In light of the significant decline in hotel business caused by the pandemic, the applicant seeks to change the use of the premises.

"This decision stems from the complete drop-off in hotel clientele, requiring a re-evaluation of how the building is utilised."

The plans state the proposed rooms sizes are 'generously proportioned' with 'sizable windows' which 'allow for abundant natural light'.

The design and access statement adds: "The aim is to create high-quality and comfortable living spaces that meet habitability standards.

"We firmly believe our conscientious and appropriate enhancement to the property will contribute positively to the local community.

"By transforming the Longview Hotel, the building is rejuvenated, allowing its distinctiveness to shine, and be celebrated.

"Refurbishing an empty hotel into apartments presents a multitude of benefits for the local community, including increased housing availability, sustainability, economic growth, and preservation of the area's architectural character.

"By transforming the building into a vibrant residential community that respects the locality's heritage, the project enriches the fabric of the area and creates a legacy for future generations to enjoy."

To view the plans in more detail, search reference 23/3954M on Cheshire East Council's online planning portal.

The last date for submitting comments is Thursday, November 23.