St Albans hotel proposal set to be rejected

BUDGET hotel proposals for the city centre have still not been resolved to the satisfaction of St Albans planning officers.

Four weeks after district councillors deferred a decision on the building of a Premier Inn in St Peter’s Street, for the applicants and planning officers to sort out issues arising from the application, officers are still recommending refusal.

The officers’ concerns are still primarily over the height and massing of the hotel which would be built at the top end of St Peter’s Street, adjoining Adelaide Street. A report to next week’s planning referrals meeting says that although some concerns about the scheme had been addressed, officers do not believe the hotel as proposed would relate satisfactorily to the surrounding locality, adjoining locally listed buildings and the street scene.

The recommendation could put the committee in a difficult position – the council supports a hotel on that site in principle and the city suffers from a lack of hotel rooms.

Should councillors decide to support it, they are being recommended to add several conditions under a Section 106 Agreement including a �25,000 financial contribution towards sustainable transport initiatives and/or the provision or maintenance of alternative parking provision in the city centre as well as highways improvement works in surrounding streets.

Richard Pearson, acquisition manager for Whitbread which submitted the Premier Inns application, said that since the last meeting, the company had been working with officers to resolve outstanding details on the scheme.

He added: “We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made and look forward to a positive outcome for our application so that we can make a positive investment into St Albans.”