Society backs Welwyn Garden City hotel plans

PUBLISHED: 08:51 21 May 2013 | UPDATED: 08:51 21 May 2013

An aeriel view of Stonehills House which could be developed into a three-star hotel

An aeriel view of Stonehills House which could be developed into a three-star hotel

Archant

PLANS for a huge three-star hotel in the centre of WGC have won the backing of an influential heritage group.

The Welwyn Garden City Society’s chairman Shaun O’Reilly told the WHT the new plan would breathe new life into tired-looking town centre office buildings left in a “terrible condition”.

The Welwyn Hatfield Times revealed last month how plans had been submitted for a 74-bed hotel in Stonehills.

And, despite what Mr O’Reilly called “anxiety” in some quarters over the move, he said it would be “detrimental to the town” to have building s unoccupied and falling into disrepair.

He said: “The exterior of the buildings isn’t changing at all, [facing] onto the street in Howardsgate, and [there may be] non-visible change at the back.

“What the hotelier does need to deal with is parking.”

He said developers handling similar plans in other towns had done deals with multi-storey car parks, and he said he hoped an arrangement could be made in WGC.

He added: “On balance we would prefer to see the buildings occupied than standing empty.

“The condition of these offices are in a very poor state, some of the windows are falling out – they are in a terrible condition.”

He said he had heard objections to the plan but claimed: “I’m not sure any of them are valid.”

“There is anxiety about what might happen but if they [the buildings] are left unoccupied it can only be detrimental to the town,” he said.

The estimated £3.5m hotel development, which as yet does not have an operator, is currently subject to a consultation period.


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