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Clerkenwell hotel gets go-ahead despite neighbours’ ‘good fight’

Residents fear six-storey building 'will change the whole area and we’re going to be worst affected’

13 April, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Residents who battled plans for a six-storey hotel near their homes

RESIDENTS fighting a new hotel in their Clerkenwell road said they had “put up a good fight” after a Whitehall inspector gave the go-ahead for the six-storey building.

Plans to erect a Premier Inn, on the site of a multi-storey NCP car park in Farringdon Road, were thrown out by councillors two years ago. Developer Endurance Land appeal­ed to the Planning Inspectorate, which app­roved the plans last month. Disgruntled residents formed a tenants’ and residents’ association, the Catherine Griffiths and Clerkenwell Community TRA, to oppose the plans. They were “disappointed” by the decision.

TRA chair Jacqueline Czelny, who lives in Levyne Court, said: “The build is going to change the whole area and we are going to be the worst affected.

“The hotel will bring transient people and undesirable noise up to all hours of the day and night.

“We already have issues with restaurants and bars opening late around here. We put up a good fight.”

Ms Czelny wanted the car park to remain as it is, but with more spaces to charge electric vehicles, or for it to become a community centre.

Delivery vans for the hotel coming down a narrow road will disturb residents, she warned.

Councillors opposed the hotel plans, saying they breached a policy which states that the car park site should be redeveloped to provide homes or office space.

But the Whitehall inspector said: “There is no suggestion that hotel use on this site would displace business employment in the area.

“In any case, a significant amount of new business space and ground-floor retail is included in the scheme.”

The “constraints of the site in terms of noise and pollution from Farringdon Road” and the “potential for overlooking”, alongside the “narrowness of the plan area”, made it difficult for a residential property to be built there, the inspector added.

The hotel will have retail and office space and be built of light-coloured, pre-cast, reconstituted stone.

Ms Czelny said lawyers who represented residents pro bono from 1 Crown Office Row during the inquiry were reviewing the inspector’s decision.

Owen Ellender, a development manager at Whitbread which owns Premier Inn, said: “This is a great result for the whole team who have worked hard with us to deliver a positive outcome.

“This site represents a significant development opportunity in one of London’s most vibrant and well-connected areas and is an excellent ­example of how flexible Whitbread can be to secure the best sites for Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn.”

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