Project Marconi: Sandbanks Community Group needs your help!

Sandbanks is at risk of losing a hotel at the magnificent entrance to Poole harbour, to be replaced by a development of 119 private flats.  Sandbanks Community Group (SCG) believes the community and visitors alike deserve something better.  We need your support today for an alternative plan including a new hotel with improved public access and facilities for everyone.

SCG hosts drop-in event to view the plans

On Friday 29th September 2023, SCG hosted a drop-in event at the North Haven Yacht Club. There, members of the community had the opportunity to view SCG’s alternative proposal for the Haven site - one that retains a hotel with all the associated facilities, employment and business opportunities.  In addition to a new hotel, the SCG alternative plan retains the mature trees (unlike the flats scheme) and improves the access with a new seafront walkway with a public esplanade of retail outlets and a public sea-lido swimming pool.

Crowning the proposed hotel is a tower of suites topped by a majestic beacon, lighting the entrance to the harbour.  A fitting nod to Marconi and his radio mast which stood in this same location over 130 years ago.

Sadly the only planning application currently submitted would, if approved, see a hotel disappear forever.  The historic hotel would be replaced by private flats with no public access to any amenity at this unique location.

Although planning permission for the flats was refused in 2022 due to concerns about sea defences, the application has been amended and is still very much live.  Time is of the essence to try and change that plan.

Offering a viable alternative...

As a community, we feel it is time to stop saying “no”, and instead to provide the landowner and council, with an alternative, better, scheme to consider.  One that is attractive, credible, viable and retains a hotel on this iconic site.  This is why SCG has developed its own, community-led proposal for the harbour entrance site under the name 'Project Marconi'. Our proposal respects not only the Poole Local Plan, but also the Sandbanks Neighbourhood Plan.

Project Marconi acknowledges the historical link between the Haven Hotel and its famous resident and scientist Guglielmo Marconi, the ‘father of radio’, who lived and worked here from 1898.  Indeed, Marconi built a tall mast in the grounds as part of his radio experiments.

We need your help to fund our pre-planning application

To provide BCP Council (and the landowner) with a credible and viable proposal to consider, the SCG Committee started discussing alternative ideas for the site with world-renowned architect Philip Gumuchdjian.

Philip presented his initial ideas to the community at the packed out SCG AGM, held at the RMYC in July 2023.  Chairman, Norman Allenby-Smith asked the community to vote on whether to proceed with the Project Marconi hotel proposal. There was overwhelming support. In particular, to retain a hotel on the site, protect the trees and provide public amenity and access at the Haven end of the peninsula.  

Funding a Pre-Planning Application

It was agreed that your community would fund the architect's preparatory work, the pre-planning application and consultants’ fees, by Crowdfunding.  We are now asking for your support in making a donation to finance our alternative vision for the Haven Hotel site at:

To get Project Marconi off the ground, several local residents and businesses have already made generous contributions totalling over £6,000, paid directly to the architects for their initial work.

To go to the next stage of submitting a pre-planning application, we need all local residents and businesses to support the Project Marconi campaign.  This will help pay for the professional services required to make a planning application.  Without your support and donation, we will not be able to offer an alternative proposal and private flats may become inevitable.

How much shall I give?

As a guide, you may wish to consider a contribution of £100 per £1million of your own property’s worth.  We will be delighted with any and all donations, but please remember – this is a once in a century opportunity to help shape the future of Sandbanks.  A future that retains a hotel for generations to come, for residents and visitors to enjoy, and an iconic building that the local community can be proud of.

Donate today and become part of the exciting, innovative and historic Project Marconi campaign

Please donate today using the link below. You can remain anonymous if you prefer.  


Alternatively you can donate via bank transfer to:

Sandbanks Community Group
Sort Code: 30-96-50
Account: 00664816
Ref: Project Marconi

Or by cheque payable to Sandbanks Community Group to:

SCG, 7 Sandy Lane, 72-74 Banks Road, Poole, BH13 7AS

If we do nothing, we will lose a hotel at the Haven site forever.  Please take a moment today to support the community’s alternative plan.

Thank you,

Norman Allenby-Smith
Chairman, Sandbanks Community Group

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