Hotel extension refused on energy efficiency doubts

Concerns over energy efficiency, appearance and impact on neighbours have led an inspector to refuse permission for a six-storey extension to a London budget hotel to provide 62 serviced apartments.

An energy strategy submitted with the proposal recommended the use of air source heat pumps. However, the inspector found no provision in the plans for a plant room or other means of providing the pumps. He speculated that if individual condenser fans were installed in each room, they could disfigure the elevation, undermining the appellants’ claim that the proposal would improve the hotel’s austere appearance.

In addition, the inspector found the appellants’ evidence on how the building could achieve the required “excellent” BREEAM rating confused and contradictory. Their acoustic report recommended mechanical ventilation but the energy strategy indicated the use of passive natural ventilation, he remarked, while other documents referred to green walls and green roofs, orientation of windows and various other measures.

In his view, there was so much uncertainty about what techniques would actually be employed to achieve the BREEAM rating that the submitted drawings could not be relied upon as an accurate representation of what was proposed or to underpin the council’s suggested condition requiring a pre-occupation certification that it had been achieved. He was also concerned that the extension would appear formidable in its domestic-scale surroundings and harm neighbours’ living conditions due to a loss of daylight.

Inspector: Paul Clark; Written representations

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