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Go-ahead for Bishop's Stortford hotel despite hostel fears

Fears a new hotel in Bishop’s Stortford could be turned into a hostel without planning permission have been allayed by East Herts Council.

Bishop’s Stortford member Cllr Tim Page voiced concerns at a meeting of EHC’s development management committee over the scheme for Woodlands Lodge, off Dunmow Road.

Members approved a planning application to add a 29-bed hotel and 46 parking spaces to the former Green Belt site, which is currently occupied by an 11-room bed and breakfast guest house built in 1991 and extended in 2001.

Woodlands Lodge
Woodlands Lodge

Each of the new rooms will have space for two beds and include a kitchenette and en-suite shower room.

The scheme, which replaces an earlier one for a 44-bed hotel, also includes a two-bedroom flat for the venue manager and a laundry room for guests.

Conservative Cllr Page feared planning permission for a hotel aimed at Stansted Airport passengers could automatically allow conversion to a hostel, with less “transient” residents.

The council’s solicitor, Paul Courtine, reassured him that a revision of the relevant legislation meant such a switch would be a material change of use and would require a further planning application for the 1-acre (0.4-hectare) site next to the Peek Business Centre.

The development, close to Bishop’s Stortford Football Club’s ground at Woodside and the town’s recycling centre, includes 38 solar panels. Councillors imposed planning consent conditions for water conservation measures and to ensure extra ducting is provided for electric vehicle charging points in the future.

Bishop’s Stortford Liberal Democrat Cllr Terence Beckett said: “It’s a very nondescript piece of land and it’s about time something good happened to it.”

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