Another look at Chiswell Green Hilton hotel plans

A FRESH look at the latest application to build a new Hilton hotel and conference centre on a rundown Green Belt site in Chiswell Green goes before councillors next week.

But despite a number of changes from the previous application including the omission of a second budget hotel on the site at Copsewood on the Noke roundabout, planning officers are again recommending refusal of the scheme.

The applicants, 51 Pegasus, have also repositioned the staff hostel towards the back of the site, reduced the number of parking spaces and opened up the amount of landscaping.

But in their report to next week’s planning meeting, officers maintain that there are insufficient special circumstances to outweigh Green Belt restrictions on development in the Green Belt.

They are also critical of the layout, the lack of space between the proposed buildings and the boundary with Lye Lane, the extent of new tree planting and the overdevelopment of the site.

A spokesperson for 51 Pegaus described the scheme as, “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set in motion an exciting and long overdue development that would enable St Albans to compete for national and international tourism, business visitors and conference delegates and help to regenerate a vibrant local economy.”

She said it was an opportunity to deliver a world-class hotel and conference operation that would put St Albans on the international tourism map not just alongside the likes of Bath, Cambridge and Warwick but also worldwide.

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She added: “Such a project has been mooted by our council for more than two decades. Now, it seems, there is the chance to turn this aspiration into reality.”

The application is going to next Wednesday’s meeting of the district council’s planning referrals committee.