Friday, March 9, 2012

News: Premier Inn plans go to board


Planners are recommending that plans for a 80-bed hotel and restaurant at Templeborough be refused, in a bid to protect Rotherham town centre.

Whitbread, the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group submited initial plans in August but they were withdrawn in October after Rotherham Council asked that the developers look again at preferred development sites in the town centre.

Now the members of the council's planning board are being recommended to refuse resubmitted plans, stating that the proposed development would have "significant and unacceptable adverse impacts in respect of the vitality and viability of the town centre", and that there are two preferable sites for a hotel development in the town.

The council asked Whitbread and agents, Turley Associates, to look at six sites in and around the town centre that are considered to be sequentially preferable to the site at Phoenix Riverside in Templeborough.

The sites were Wierside, Westgate Chambers, Liquid nightclub, The Satnam site at Westgate, the former Henley's Garage site on Wellgate and the site of the former Guest & Chrimes foundry.

However, the developers discounted all of these sites for various reasons.

The council had asked for expressions of interest for the Wierside site, currently used as a temporary car park of Corporation Street, and hotel developers were interested. However, the applicants state that the site would be too small for a Premier Inn and pub restaurant and that they were not involved in the tender process to develop the site.

The planners do not accept the reasons for discounting the site, which is available for development, stating that: "whilst it is noted that the development in the form proposed within this application would not fit onto the site, the developer has other models that could allow a hotel and restaurant development to be provided on this site."

Regarding the Guest & Chrimes foundry, the developers presume that the Grade II listing would mean that the building would need to be retained. They add that "the feasibility and cost of conversion is unknown and unproven, but it would be a reasonable expectation that this would affect deliverability within Whitbread's timetable and overall viability."

They also add that the building would not be available until the £20m stadium for Rotherham United is completed on the adjacent land, adding that there is also a significant flood risk on the site and that any consent for demolition would take too long to secure given the building's listed status.

Planners agree that the reuse of the listed building can be discounted on the grounds of suitability and viability. However, a further area within the site, that is currently shown for car parking on the approved site plan for New York Stadium, is considered to be a preferable site for a hotel in planning terms than the site at Templeborough.

The planner's report adds that the developer has not adopted a flexible approach to locating a 80-bed hotel and restaurant development in either of the preferable locations.

Whitbread is hoping to invest £9m in a new Premier Inn hotel and 236 cover Brewer's Fayre pub / restaurant at Phoenix Riverside.

After a slowdown in the economy, the site owner, St Paul Developments, is now seeking to develop the site for alternative uses. The plans state that: "it is envisaged that the overall proposed development will create an estimated 60 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs. Approximately 42 jobs would be created during the construction of the proposed development."

The planning board will meet to discuss the proposals on March 15.

Whitbread website

Images: Whitbread / Turley Associates


Tom,  March 22, 2012 at 10:34 AM  

That decision was deferred pending further discussions by the Director of Planning and Regeneration with the applicant with regards to alternative site provision and for the invitation to discussions be extended to Rotherham United Football Club.

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