Swanage hostel could close – and be returned to private home

BACKPACKERS could have one less place to stay in Swanage if plans to change the use of a town-centre hostel are approved.

An application has been submitted to Dorset Council to return the use of 45 High Street to residential.

Currently, use is split between a hostel at the rear of the building, known as The Auberge, and a four- or five-bedroom home at the front, occupied by the owner.

The application said it was now intended ‘to return the building to full residential use’.

It said: “The site is located within the commercial area of the High Street, Swanage, which is in the Swanage Conservation Area or ‘Old Town’.

“The site frontage sits on the high street and the building accessible through a covered porch area set back from the pavement. The building also has a rear entrance and parking.

“The site backs onto Hardy Close which houses a collection of other residential homes and flats.

“The property of 45 High Street is Grade C listed as part of the street frontage and other buildings.

“An architectural detail, on the front façade, suggests that the building was originally built in 1898.

The hostel is at the rear of the property in Swanage High Street

The hostel is at the rear of the property in Swanage High Street

“At that time, historical records and discussions with the owner suggest the building was a dwelling/residence with servants’ accommodation to the rear, within the section of the building which currently serves as a backpacker’s hostel.

“The main part of the building bordering onto the High Street is currently a 4/5-bedroom dwelling occupied by the owner.”

The hostel is made up of two rooms/dormitories which house bunk beds for a maximum of 10 guests.

A large kitchen/diner area on the ground floor, with toilets and showers in the basement area, to the rear of the building.

There is a private parking area for two vehicles at the rear of the building.

For more details, and to comment on the plan, log on to and search for application reference P/FUL/2023/03385.

One Comment

  1. Pam Jolliffe Reply

    I am the current owner of the Auberge in Swanage High Street together with the executors of my partner Pete who died in March 22. He had the idea of the bunkhouse and the skills to do much of the renovation. I worked elsewhere and continued until I was 70. I kept the hostel running during Pete’s illness and during the long period since trying to sell the property. It is exhausting for me to run and recently friends have helped – it is not cost effective to employ staff.
    We do get occasional coast path walkers, some school parties but mainly divers, festival goers and a few walking and cycling groups groups.
    The building was originally a doctors surgery, it was rented by the council as offices,then a large family home with a house clearance business but became very run down . It once more needs some one with energy, skills and ideas to keep this beautiful building in good repair. My purchaser has those skills and has applied for residential status only.

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