Airport hotel lost on sequential approach

An appeal by London Biggin Hill Airport Ltd for a 100-bedroom hotel and a restaurant has been rejected due to ministerial concerns over its design and the company's failure to demonstrate that sequentially preferable sites were not available.

The firm claimed that the hotel was necessary to provide accommodation for passengers and flight crew using the airport. The council did not dispute the need for the scheme or that it would adversely affect existing centres' vitality. However, it raised concerns over the hotel's design, which was based on two oblong blocks containing uniform lines of windows.

While accepting the need for a hotel, the inspector found that few details had been provided on whether this could be met on the appeal site. In his view, the building would appear dowdy, utilitarian and unimaginative, showing little thought for its landscaped setting. The secretary of state, despite recognising that the proposal would help future expansion of the airport and the local economy, decided that its shortcomings justified refusal.

DCS Number 100-050-182

Inspector Rod Baker; Written representations.

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