Welwyn Garden City hotel gets go ahead despite concerns for existing businesses

PUBLISHED: 10:02 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:02 16 August 2017

Tesco Headquarters on Shire park

Tesco Headquarters on Shire park

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Tesco has been given the go ahead to build a 123-bedroom hotel in Welwyn Garden City despite concerns the development could “cripple” existing businesses.

The supermarket was given permission by Welwyn Hatfield Council earlier this month.

The four-storey hotel, with associated parking and landscaping, will be built on land between Kestrel Way and Bessemer Road at Shire Park next to Tesco’s headquarters.

Planning consent was gained despite a strongly-worded objection letter from WGC’s Homestead Court Hotel director Nabil Lababedi, who highlighted that not only was Air B&B taking a toll on business but a Travelodge will also be opening in WGC town centre soon.

Nabil wrote: “Currently hotels in the area, Welwyn/Hatfield and Stevenage are only achieving a reasonable occupancy on two days of the week; Tuesday/Wednesday.

“The majority of the time (five days of the week) falls well below the UK average and is sometimes less than 10 per cent occupancy.

“Adding further rooms to the area will mean Welwyn/Hatfield will be among the worst performing occupancy in the country, most likely crippling or causing the closure of multiple hotels.”

Tesco must abide by a number of conditions as part of its planning consent.

The retailer must provide a detailed water drainage scheme, noisy building work is restricted to certain hours and details of parking restrictions/controls must be provided on approach roads.

In Tesco’s design and access statement, it was noted: “The proposal is for a new hotel building set at the heart of Tesco’s head

office community.

“It is to be used as a stopping point when meeting colleagues, customers and suppliers.”

Tesco added: “The existing site is largely unused and unmaintained.

“The site is covered in grassland, scrub and trees with an area of photovoltaic panels which provide electricity to Tesco’s offices.

“Hedgerows and mature trees surround north east and north west boundaries.

“The application proposes to retain the existing Class A trees across the site as well as the surrounding trees to the edges of the site.

“The PV panels are to be relocated to the left of their current position to maximise the potential space for the building.”

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