The hotel was proposed on the site of a six-storey office block and included a 16-storey tower element. In townscape terms, the inspector found that the landmark tower would be in keeping with its location on a major thoroughfare and the context provided by other tall buildings. It would not intrude into the setting of a listed town hall, he judged. However, as the site also abutted small-scale traditional housing, he concluded that the height and mass of the tower in the outlook from these homes would severely detract from living conditions.
As the location was well served by public transport, no on-site parking provision was proposed apart from one disabled space. The inspector accepted that a level of parking substantively lower than the council’s maximum standards was appropriate but decided that no off-street parking was unacceptable. Although parking restrictions operated in surrounding streets during the day, he reasoned that hotel guests would require overnight parking, putting them in direct competition with local residents for spaces outside working hours.
He also held that disabled parking provision well below council standards would not be compensated by less accessible on-street blue badge parking. He concluded that the proposal would not accord with the site-specific approach to parking standards required by paragraph 105 of the NPPF. The scheme’s regeneration benefits and recycling of previously developed land were outweighed by the harms identified, he held.
Inspector: Darren Hendley; Written representations