Monday, October 8, 2012

News: Premier Inn plans go back to board


Planners are recommending again 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Whitbread, the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group submitted initial plans last year but they were withdrawn after Rotherham Council asked that the developers look again at preferred development sites in the town centre.

Members of the council's planning board were recommended to refuse resubmitted plans in March, 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 preferable sites for a hotel development in the town.

A decision on the application was deferred at the planning board "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."

Now the same plans for the £9m development at Phoenix Riverside are set to go before the board this week despite the discussions. Again, members are being recommended to refuse the plans based on national planning guidance as planners believe that "there are sequentially preferable sites on the edge of Rotherham town centre which are suitable and available for development of the proposed hotel and public house/restaurant use."

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

Most were agreed upon that they could be discounted but the council considers that a site currently used for car parking at New York Stadium is a preferable site for a hotel in planning terms than the site at Templeborough.

The site of the Liquid nightclub, which went up for sale last year and is again available for purchase, is also considered to be a preferable site.

National planning guidance states that applicants must show flexibility with regards to accommodating a development such as this, within, or on the edge of, a town centre. In discounting these sites, the planning report concludes that "the applicant has not shown even a small degree of flexibility in the schemes delivery to make either of the other sites suitable."

In a letter to the council, the applicant's agent states: "It is clear to us that should members choose to resist the Phoenix Riverside application proposal it will not result in investment being directed towards the town centre. Rather it will result in lost investment to the borough.

"In this regard I have been asked to make it clear to you that Whitbread will not be making another planning application to Rotherham MBC on any other site."

The planning board meets on Thursday.

Images: Whitbread / Turley Associates


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