New JD Wetherspoon hotel/bar in Welwyn Garden City refused planning permission

PUBLISHED: 10:03 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 09 November 2018

Wetherspoon's Parkway site. Picture: Chris Flanagan.

Wetherspoon's Parkway site. Picture: Chris Flanagan.

Archant

A plan to build a new JD Wetherspoon hotel/bar in Welwyn Garden City has been rejected by Welwyn Hatfield Council's development management committee.

In a meeting yesterday the committee chose to refuse the proposal to build the hotel on the site of a vacant office block at 22 Parkway.

Of the committee members, all 12 voted against the proposals.

The plan included a bar and a hotel with 13 guest rooms, which would have required a rear extension to be added to the existing building to accommodate a beer garden and a terrace, as well as a cellar, kitchen and toilet facilities to serve the downstairs lounge, bar and dining area.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Steven Markewicz said: “They say that the definition of madness is trying the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

“Now there seems to be some top executive at Wetherspoon’s that has put their name behind this and has said that whatever happens we will get this through.”

More than 200 people sent representations to the council objecting to the proposals, arguing that the noise from the bar late at night and in the early hours of the morning would disturb the neighbours. Other residents objected to the lack of on-site parking, congestion caused by deliveries, the risk of noise disruption and antisocial behaviour and fumes from cooking and people smoking outside the pub.

The committee also believed that the hotel would represent a “significant overdevelopment” which “fails to reflect [the building’s] surroundings”.

Cllr Markewicz said: “The officers’ recommendations and reasons are planning-based and undeniable. They will be, I’m sure, supported by any subsequent planning inspector on appeal.

“This is time for Wetherspoons to say OK, we surrender, we are going to give this site for community use. We will show we can be a good neighbour.”

The WGC Society were concerned that the development would ruin the conservation area, and set a precedent for other buildings in Parkway to convert to retail or entertainment.

Cllr Mike Larkins said: “This is a conservation area. It will stay that way. This is the wrong place.

“We welcome Wetherspoon’s in the town centre, but not this place.”

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