New Application from JD Wetherspoon for 22 Parkway

The property as it now stands

JD Wetherspoon have returned with a third application for 22 Parkway. You may wish to comment on the proposal. There are over 100 objections currently showing on the Council’s planning portal, with over 80% registering an objection.

The following information is provided to clarify what is proposed and to highlight potential problems with the scheme in planning terms.

Background

Planning reference: 6/2018/1881/FULL

Short link for your web browser: tinyurl.com/parkway22

Consultation end-date: 21 Aug 2018 – Note that comments can be submitted after that date, up until it is brought forward for a decision by WHBC, a date yet to be announced.

If you have difficulty accessing the plans please contact us at wgcsociety@live.com

Summary

This new application differs from the previous applications in that it is for a hotel with an “ancillary” bar that is open for non-residents. There are 13 hotel rooms shown on the plans, with a bar that will have twenty tables and accommodate 60 people.

This change of use is not in keeping with the current District Plan, it is also not in keeping with the conservation area or the building itself. There will be no allocated parking and no dedicated off-street area for deliveries. It will be open from 7:00am until gone midnight seven days a week. No EMS consent is being sought by the applicant, however it has been applied for previously.

How to Object

Objections can be made online through the portal using the links above. You can also send email to the planning department, or write by letter to the Council offices. The contact details are as follows:

By email: planning@welhat.gov.uk By letter: Planning Department, Welwyn Hatfield Council, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6AE.

If writing by email or letter you must supply your name and address for the objection to be valid and you must state that you are objecting. Note that the council will redact personal details when posting your objection to their online portal.

Points you may wish to consider:

  • 22 Parkway is listed as one of the most important buildings in Welwyn Garden City. The row of buildings 8-22 Parkway forms one of the most important vistas in the town. The proposal will spoil this vitally important vista.

  • The proposed design adds a bulky extension to a building that has been previously extended on two occasions. The design does not respect the character and setting in the Conservation Area.

  • This property falls within the Estate Management Scheme area, as can be evidenced on the ‘Pink Map’ that defines which areas of the town are covered by the EMS. Wetherspoons have made no application for EMS consent.

  • Policy TCR10 and TCR11 policies of the Welwyn Hatfield District Plan lists acceptable use classes when a change of use is applied for outside of the town’s primary retail core. Neither policy includes class C1 (Hotels) as an acceptable change of use.

  • Over the last 40 years, successive planning policies have protected this row of buildings from conversion to retail and leisure – sometimes described as “no retail on the west side of Parkway”. This policy is long standing and has been re-affirmed in the most recent local plan.

  • There are no parking spaces provided at the site. This is contrary to the parking standards. The applicant states that most people will walk to the pub after using public transport, and that “It is considered that adequate parking provision exists within the vicinity to cater for any demand that may arise.”

  • If this application is approved it will set a precedent for all buildings on the west side of Parkway to convert to retail or entertainment.

  • Noise from visitors arriving and departing late at night will cause a nuisance to residents. These buildings play in providing a buffer from noise and disturbance from the town centre. The proposed trading hours are 07:00 to 00:30 Sunday to Wednesday and 07:00 to 01:30 Thursday to Saturday.

  • If consent is given for this scheme, the applicant may be able to vary the floor plan AND usage category without further approval.

  • Deliveries and waste collection will block the main road, and the pavement. The applicant suggests they are made before 8am, but this means deliveries from 6:00am onwards disturbing local residents.

  • The site is adjacent to a local surgery which is visited daily by vulnerable people, including young children and the elderly.

  • The applicant claims that 50 full-time jobs will be created by the scheme. This would equate to 4 jobs per hotel room. The Homes and Community Agency’s Employment Density Guide (2015) suggests that budget hotels have one full time job per five hotel rooms. The applicant’s claim of 50 full time staff is highly questionable. The new 79 room Travelodge in town employs just 25 people and includes a bar and café.

The WGC Society re-iterates once more that it does not object to Wetherspoon or any similar business seeking to trade in the town. Each application is to be considered on its own merits. In this case, as previously, we do not believe a pub, or hotel/pub as proposed, is appropriate in this heritage and conservation location.

Share

Comments are closed.