Queen's Hotel Planning Application
22/06/2018 12:49:00......Posted by Scott Roche
One of the roles I have been given as newly elected councillor for Shirley South, was to be assigned as a member of the Croydon Council Planning Committee, and the Deputy Shadow Cabinet Member for Planning in Croydon. I am working together with the Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Jason Perry.
An application close to my heart was referred to the planning committee yesterday, the redevelopment of the Queen's Hotel in Crystal Palace. It was referred to the planning committee, due to the sheer number of objections received from local residents, and local elected officials.
The Queens hotel was built in 1854, at the height of popularity for the Crystal Palace Exhibition, millions of tourists flocked to the area to see the exhibition. The Crystal Palace Exhibition had an estimated 6 million visitors, the equivalent to a third of the entire population of the United Kingdom at the time!
The Queen's Hotel current owners submitted an amended planning application for a proposed 161 additional room increase, which as a result would make this hotel comparable to a central London hotels in size. For a moderately small town such as Crystal Palace, a hotel of this size is not justified, or appropiate for the local community.
The Crystal Palace community as well as myself welcome very much any investment to the area, but it has to be appropriate for its local surroundings and circumstances. Increasing the capacity of this hotel by nearly 50% is too vast; and as a result, the local community would be hugely impacted by such a scheme if it was approved by the planning committee.
After carefully reviewing the amended planning application submitted, and listening to what both the objectors and supporters of this application had to say, I had no hesitation to second Cllr Jason Perry’s motion for refusal of this application.
The Hotel is a locally listed building; I felt the current design was not sympathetic enough towards the heritage of the hotel. Hugely increasing the number of cars and coaches likely to come to this hotel and the area, would result in increased levels of air pollution, congestion on the surrounding roads, together with exacerbating the problem of hotel stayers avoiding parking charges, and inappropriately parking in the surrounding roads as a result. Additionally I was concerned what impact this scheme would have on the Victorian buildings towards the rear of the hotel, and the surrounding green spaces. All these factors helped me reach the conclusion, that this application was inappropriate in its current form. I felt the planning applicant had not made enough amendments within this newly submitted planning application, to help address many of the concerns raised with the last application, which as a result was refused planning consent by the committee last year.
It was refreshing to see two of the Labour planning committee members, Cllr Frazer and Cllr Clark, using their conscience and common sense, rather than following Cllr Scott's lead to support this flawed planning application. They instead supported our motion to refuse this application; therefore, the planning committee voted to refuse the planning application. This news was received with cheers of joy from the public gallery, which was full of concerned local residents!
Let us hope independence of mind is here to stay!