Planning Inspectorate dismisses appeal by Falcon Hotel, Whittlesey, after Fenland Council rejected improvement scheme
PUBLISHED: 16:02 11 January 2019
Issues raised by a town councillor – and the current mayor – have been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate who dismissed an appeal against an extension and re-development of a historic hotel.
Cllr Julie Windle claimed the bid by the Falcon Hotel, Whittlesey, to modernise and extend would have “a severe and detrimental effect on all the surrounding roads - London Street, Paradise Lane, Turners Lane, St. Mary’s Street, and Falcon Lane.”
And in a letter to Fenland Council, who rejected the original application, she added: “On street car parking in this area is already a major problem especially in London Street and Paradise Lane; the proposed applications would make this considerably worse.”
Proposals put forward by the hotel could, in some instances, pose the risk of accidents in nearby streets, she said, and she was particularly concerned for the safety of four local residents, all in their 90s.
The town council backed her objections on highways grounds.
Fenland Council refused the application and that has now been upheld on appeal.
An inspector ruled that “having regard to the council’s reason for refusal, the main issue is the effect of the development on the living conditions of residents in the vicinity, and the character and appearance of the area”.
The inspector said that whilst tourism was important – and the jobs it created – policies needed to ensure the infrastructure could cope. And parking provision was essential.
The appeal ruling also referred to extra rooms to be added and with everything else proposed there would be insufficient parking.
Up to 11 extra bedrooms were proposed and the access and entry to the hotel could not adequately cope with the extra cars.
“To sum up, the provision of additional tourism accommodation would be in-line with policy and the control of casual parking so close to that accommodation would avoid disturbance to guests,” said the inspector.
“But, even taking the appellant’s figures, the shortfall in parking would result in traffic movements in the vicinity that would risk having an undue adverse effect on the living conditions of residents through noise and disturbance, and the likelihood of traffic touring round looking for spaces to park would harm the character and
appearance of the area.”
Although a local historical society supported the proposals, Fenland Council backed a planning officer’s assessment of that the proposals failed to meet the parking standards required.
An earlier application – in 2016 – was also rejected for the Falcon which has been a hotel since at least the beginning of the 19th century.