THE owners of a seafront guest house spent an eye-watering £1million transforming it into a family home...but must now open it up to guests again on the orders of Southend Council.

Mark Hobbs, owner of the Bay Guest House in Eastern Esplanade, stopped taking in customers four years ago and began using the four bedroom B&B as a family home.

However, Southend Council has thrown out a retrospective planning application for it to be used as a home and ordered Mr Hobbs to once again use it as a B&B.

Mr Hobbs claims he has spent £1million transforming the B&B back into its original state as a Edwardian townhouse, including restoring fireplaces, reconfiguring rooms and redecorating.

Gazette: Family home - After the transformationFamily home - After the transformation (Image: Mark Hobbs)

The B&B has not welcomed a single guest since 2020 and Mr Hobbs claims it is no longer viable as a business.

However, Southend Council has raised concerns over the loss of visitor accommodation on the seafront if it is used as a home.

Mr Hobbs, and his wife Tina, are furious that the plans have been rejected and fear they will “bleed cash” by running what he believes is a financially unsustainable business.

They intend to appeal against the council’s decision.

Gazette: The Bay guest houseThe Bay guest house (Image: Mark Hobbs)

He said: “This is an utter joke, we have made the house beautiful where before it was a derelict guest house and we have lived here for four years.

“We haven’t taken any guests since Covid, previously I ran the guest house to hold students coming over to my training business, but we changed to online training during Covid and we didn’t want to lose the building, so we moved in.

“We spent a million on the house and people comment on how beautiful it is. We simply don’t have the time to run a guest house and we will be appealing this. We refuse to move out.”

Mr Hobbs claims the house was originally a “normal” home before being changed to become a guest house, however there are no council records to prove this.

He is now set to submit an appeal in the hope of continuing to use the guest house as a home.

“We proved to the council the guest house was financially unsustainable, it had been marketed through Expedia and AirBnB and could not work,” he added.

“This has put a massive strain on us, it feels like we are losing our home and if we lose the appeal. We would be forced to sell and it would be empty as well as losing me a lot of money.”