Surrey CometPremier Inn plan reduces rooms by two (From Surrey Comet)

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Walton Premier Inn plan reduces rooms by two

Surrey Comet: Plans: Lack of parking was a main concern, along with height, bulk and design Plans: Lack of parking was a main concern, along with height, bulk and design

New plans have been submitted to Elmbridge Council to build a controversial 93-bedroom Premier Inn hotel in Walton – with only two bedrooms removed.

The previous application to develop to P&Q Homestore site in Terrace Road was withdrawn on November 20 so the building could be redesigned.

In the new plan, a two to five-storey building would be created and would comprise of two retail units and a 93-bedroom hotel, a total of 4,315 sq m, following the demolition of existing retail units.

Hundreds of people signed petitions and wrote to the council objecting to the initial proposals and many contacted councillors Rachel Lake and Andrew Kelly with their concerns.

The Walton councillors are now asking for feedback once again.

In a newsletter due to be sent to 1,500 homes, the councillors have laid out the five “minor amendments” to the original plan.

The changes include a reduction in the height of the building on the Terrace Road and Manor Road junction, as well as a reduced number of bedrooms allowing for further reductions in size and a withdrawn street scene at first floor level adjacent to the church.

The gap between the proposed hotel and church has been increased.

The first plans indicated the ground floor of the building would consist of two retail units of 835sq m with the 95 bedroom hotel on the upper floors, ranging from two to five storeys.

The new plans have reduced the size of the proposed development by 158 sq m, but will still be an increase on the current building on the site, which stands at 2,375 sq m. The number of bedrooms has reduced to 93.

Councillors Kelly and Lake said: “Despite the changes made, we feel that the height, bulk and design is out of keeping with the area.

“Residents who objected to the original application shared our main concern, the lack of parking. No parking spaces were provided for the staff or customers of the Premier Inn hotel. The only parking was 13 spaces for the two retail units. Unfortunately, the revised application has not changed the parking aspect - so it would remain just 13 spaces for the entire site and none for the 93-bedroom hotel.”

Premier Inn said it “has been proven that parking for the hotel is totally viable in the current over provision in the town”.

The Walton councillors said they were also concerned by the lack of consultation done by the applicant and said the developer had shown “very little, if any, regard for the concerns of the people of Walton”.

Whitbread said the changes made to the proposed development “address feedback received on elements of the design”.

John Rumsey from Whitbread said: “The revised application addresses the important issues highlighted with the previous scheme. We are keen to bring a new Premier Inn to Walton and believe the submitted plans will deliver jobs, investment and great opportunities for local businesses in the town.”

The application can be viewed using application reference 2012/4476 at elmbridge.gov.uk/planning/online.htm.

Comments are welcomed on the application until January 25.

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