Anger as ‘Star Trek’ flats plans for fire-ravaged Welwyn hotel backed

PUBLISHED: 09:45 14 August 2013 | UPDATED: 09:45 14 August 2013

Clock Hotel site

Clock Hotel site

Archant

CONTROVERSIAL plans to knock down a fire-ravaged hotel and replace it with a housing project, likened to something out of Star Trek by critics, looks set to be approved.

A bid to demolish the Clock Hotel in Welwyn and build four blocks containing 50 flats has been backed by planning officers ahead of a crunch meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

But the move has angered campaigners, with more than 180 objections collected over the weekend, amid claims that more people in the village should have been consulted.

Documents published on Thursday revealed that nearly 50 objections were received by Welwyn Hatfield Council.

Critics have blasted designs, lodged by developers Lasserton Ltd, and dubbed the site “overdevelopment”.

This week Andy Trotter, from the Danesbury Residents Association, said he had collected 185 signatures objecting to the plans, and told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Many respondents did not understand why such a prominent site had been notified to so few residents, except in public notices, and why a scheme so at odds with Welwyn village and having so many units in it, could be recommended for approval by the planners.”

When the plans were unveiled, he said: “In the middle of a Roman village it is a bit like the Starship Enterprise landing.”

Objections also question why just four of the flats would be affordable housing, and call for the site’s landmark clock to be retained.

Concerns were also voiced about traffic and parking.

The building has been derelict since an arson attack in 2010 devastated the building.

A report prepared ahead of tomorrow’s planning meeting said Welwyn Hatfield Council received 48 objections, and one letter of support for the project.

The document, by planning officer Conor Guilfoyle, said: “The site is previously developed land and is in a derelict state.

“It is located at the edge of an existing settlement with accessibility to existing services and facilities.”

It added that the proposal would improve access to facilities in the village, with a new footway to be created to the north of Church Street.


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