St Albans set for new Hilton Hotel complex?

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 May 2010

A NEW Hilton Hotel complex on the outskirts of the city moved a step closer this week following the submission of a planning application for the proposal. Development company 51 Pegasus has applied for permission for Hilton to build a dual budget and luxu

A NEW Hilton Hotel complex on the outskirts of the city moved a step closer this week following the submission of a planning application for the proposal.

Development company 51 Pegasus has applied for permission for Hilton to build a dual budget and luxury hotel on Green Belt land in Chiswell Green which runs adjacent to the A405 North Orbital Road and is next to Burston Garden Centre and Herts Fisheries.

The proposal on the land known as Copsewood comprises a 150-bedroom four-star Hilton Doubletree hotel with leisure amenities and a 500-capacity conference centre, alongside a 120 bedroom Hampton by Hilton budget hotel.

The complex, surrounded by gardens, would be accessed from the Noke Roundabout and the developers have promised to extend and improve the junction.

There would also be staff hostel accommodation and parking for 180 cars to service a park and ride scheme into the city centre.

51 Pegasus, which is run by the site's owners Alan Drake and Nicola Bond, along with consultants Jonathan Shreeves, David Lane and former St Albans MP Kerry Pollard have been working on the project with Hilton for more than two years.

The developers insist that the complex will go some way to meeting the estimated 700-hotel room shortfall in St Albans identified in the district council's City Vision project and would help to serve visitors to nearby Butterfly World.

They also claim that an independent study has estimated that the scheme could bring an extra £6 million to the area each year, along with 130 new jobs.

Architect Alastair Bell said: "The proposed hotel complex provides a genuine opportunity to create an elegant grouping of four buildings set in a luxurious landscape of greenery and trees. Our working concept has been inspired by the Palladian sense of proportion and references one of the landmark buildings in the city, the St Albans Town Hall."

Andy Potter, Hilton's development director for the UK and Ireland said: "Our strategic assessment of the UK market identifies St Albans as a location which would significantly benefit from a duo of internationally branded hotels across market price points with high quality meeting rooms and associated conference facilities servicing both the business and leisure market."

He continued: "We believe St Albans is undersupplied in this regard and will gradually fall behind its neighbouring conurbations as a business and visitor destination without "best in class" hotels."

The proposal has already won support from the St Albans District and Hertfordshire Chambers of Commerce and other local bodies.

But others are sceptical, including Park Street ward councillor Aislinn Lee.

She said: "My natural instinct is to oppose it. I'm not sure that this part of St Albans needs another hotel and it will be on a very valuable piece of the Green Belt. I'm always loath to relinquish Green Belt in such a sensitive area."

Cllr Lee also raised concerns about coalescence and highways issues.

***Blob

DEVELOPERS hoping to build a hotel on a city centre brownfield site have lodged an appeal against the council's rejection of their scheme.

Antringham Verulamium and Travelodge want to create an 87-bedroom budget hotel on the footprint of the derelict Hertfordshire House in Bricket Road, but councillors turned the proposal down in August.

The £26 million complex would also include 46 residential apartments, leisure and retail facilities and 12,600 square feet of office space which could house the police when they sell their current station in Victoria Street.


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