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 2022 Revised Planning Application 19/01792 FULM for developments in the Royal Hotel Grounds

In January 2022, Oakland Hotels and Peveril Homes submitted a revision of their 2019 application for developments in the Royal Hotel Grounds. The revised title was:

Erection of a 30 apartment terrace, E(g)(i) office building, cafe kiosk and 69 bed care home (C2) with associated car parking access, landscaping and associated access amendments.

The revised application was never considered by the Disrict Council Planning Committee and was withdrawn in September 2022, when an application for 17 Town Houses was submitted

Application Details

Details of the original 2019 application and our response can be found on the"2019 Planning Application" page.

Details of the new application can be found on the NWLDC planning portal.

The main differences between the new and old applications were as follows:

  • The original application included an "Assisted Living" block on the Hastings Garden. The revised application has substituted a 69 bed Old Peoples home for this block. It is very similar in overall footprint, but has a somewhat different design both in terms of overall look and the positioning of the higher section, which is now at the railway end.
  • The revision is submitted as "Enabling Development", as defined under the National Planning Policy Framework. Paragraph 202 of the NPPF states "Local planning authorities should assess whether the benefits of a proposal for enabling development, which would otherwise conflict with planning policies but which would secure the future conservation of a heritage asset, outweigh the disbenefits of departing from those policies.”
  • To justify Enabling Development, the applicants submitted extensive documentation which presented the costs of repair and restoration of the Royal Hotel to a 29 bed Boutique Hotel, the value of the hotel once it is running again, the profits that they expect to make from the development, the contributions of the various elements of the developments to the hotel restoration and legal mechanisms by which they will be bound to ensure that the funds raised are used appropriately.
  • The proceeds from sale of the Bath Grounds to Ashby Town Council are included in the funds to be used for repair of the hotel independently of whether this application is successful or not.

Friends'​ Response to Revised Application

The Friends of Ashby Bath Grounds submitted a series of comments to the District Council on the revised application as follows:

We are encouraged that these proposals potentially offer a means of restoring the hotel as a viable enterprise but we have the following concerns:

  • We seek reassurance that the proposed development is the minimum necessary to raise the funds required to restore the hotel, in accordance with the provisions for Enabling Development as set-out in the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance.
  • We need to be sure that the hotel, as proposed, will be a viable business enterprise once restored and unlikely to fail and drift back into another cycle of closure and deterioration.
  • We need to know that the legal arrangements associated with the proposed s106 and Escrow agreements are sufficiently robust to ensure that the funds raised from the developments are indeed used to restore the hotel in accordance with the repairs schedule and restoration proposals included.
  • We seek reassurance that the profits to be made from the whole package by the current owner are reasonable, again within the framework of Enabling Development guidance.
  • We would like to see a means of sharing any excess profits with the people of Ashby in recognition of their £620k input for the purchase of the Bath Grounds.
  • We question the need for the office building fronting Station Road, particularly as this will contribute only a relatively small amount to the hotel restoration. The hotel owners already occupy offices which are both close to the Royal and located within the Town centre area designated for office use. We question what will happen to these offices when vacated.
  • We are concerned about the impact of the three-storey apartment building on the views from the Bath Grounds. Removing the office building from the plans could provide scope to relocate the apartment building further back from the Bath Grounds boundary, providing an opportunity for tree planting and additional landscaping along the boundary. This could reduce the impact of the apartment building upon the views from the Bath Grounds without undue impact on the setting of Rawdon Terrace or the Royal. It would also enable additional parking provision for the hotel and/or apartments.

The opinions of Historic England will be crucial on these issues, and we await their response to the planning consultation with interest.

With regard to the detailed design of the individual buildings, we feel that this is very much a matter of individual taste and aesthetics and, again, we will value the views of Historic England on whether the new buildings would be detrimental to the setting of the Royal Hotel and our historic Bath Grounds.

We also reiterate the concerns we previously expressed on the original plans submitted in 2019, particularly:

  • Notwithstanding the viability arguments for exemption from local infrastructure contributions, we support the National Forest’s call for the developer to fund replacing the trees which will be lost and we also call for developer funding of a pedestrian crossing at the bottom of South Street to improve accessibility to the Bath Grounds and cater for the additional pedestrian traffic which the development will generate.
  • The need for a detailed lighting and security scheme. 

We understand that the developer has now stated that the hammerhead on the Bath Grounds for HGV turning is no longer required as part of the development access arrangements and trust this means that future provisions for limiting vehicular access onto the Bath Grounds from the southern access will be the at sole discretion of Ashby Town Council (whether as leaseholder or freehold owner).

The developer has now recognised the Ashby Neighbourhood Plan but remain concerned that they have not adequately addressed the Plan’s environmental and design policies (particularly NE5 and S4), such as the provision of swift or bat boxes, the addition of green roofs and enhancing the coverage of trees.

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