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Four-star daydream: Worcester hotel plan bites the dust
DREAMS of a new four-star hotel in Worcester have officially bitten the dust – after developers secured permission to build 39 apartments instead.
Berkeley Homes has won approval from the city council’s planning committee to build one- and two-bedroom flats off St Peter’s Street in Diglis, on part of the old Royal Worcester Porcelain complex.
Back in 2006 the developer earmarked the site – opposite the Commandery in Sidbury – for a quality hotel, which was set to dominate the skyline, but earlier this year admitted it was unviable.
The new apartments will sit in an L-shaped building on the site which is between the canal bridge and Skellerns, with the tallest section five storeys high, and will come with 51 parking spaces.
It was approved unanimously despite concerns over the hotel ambitions hitting the rocks.
Paul O’Connor, head of planning in Worcester, said: “In 2006 there was a degree of expectation that a hotel would come forward on this site, but clearly that was pre-recession.
“I still think there is a demand for hotels in Worcester but the question is, they must be on appropriate sites. Given the market at the moment operators were clearly not prepared to take that risk.
“I am pleased to say Premier Inns is almost ready with its new hotel at the cricket ground which sits nicely by the riverside, and there is still interest in other hotels coming to the city.”
Councillor Robert Rowden said: “I would love to see even a five star hotel in Worcester but it would have to be a small one, because I don’t think a large one would be viable.”
A report for the developers said the site had been marketed to hotel operators for years without serious interest.
Councillor Andy Roberts said: “It does seem that over the years we get all these applications for homes and glittering in the middle of it is a four or five-star hotel, only to find at a later date we get the homes but no hotel, and here we are again.”
The committee also agreed that none of the properties have to be affordable homes, after the report said that would make the scheme unlikely to become worthwhile.
As part of the deal, once the 39 apartments are in place a fresh independent assessment will take place to see if any can become affordable homes, however.
On that basis it was voted through unanimously.
Thirty apartments will be two-bed and eight one-bed.
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