Clapham village hotel loses planning battle to build four homes

Woodland Manor
The owner of Woodland Manor had applied for permission to build four homes on the hotel's land

A bid to build four homes on an historic hotel’s land has been rejected by a Government planning inspector.

Bedford Council had rejected the planning application at Woodland Manor Hotel in Green Lane, Clapham, in February this year so Kailash Chander Suri took it to appeal.

Planning inspector Martin Chandler decided that the plan did not display enough merits to overturn the council’s local plan policies.

After visiting the site in October Mr Chandler said: “I have found that the proposal would fail to accord with the relevant policies and that other material considerations are not substantial enough to indicate a decision contrary to the development plan.”

Mr Chandler said the plan had some things going for it, including bringing new residents in who would spend money.

But because only four homes were planned, he said that benefit would be limited.

Clapham has been earmarked for 500 new homes, but this site, on the outskirts of the village has not been identified as one that local people want developed.

And the borough council has policies for deciding where housing should be built, which the inspector decided were in line with national planning rules.

Mr Chandler, in his decision letter sent on 19 November, said that even though the hotel has been given permission for more accommodation in the same location, he would not allow it.

“The absence of harm does not represent a benefit of a proposal and consequently, this matter does not weigh in favour of the appeal,” he said.

“Although there is clearly a housing need, I have no evidence before me that the proposal would respond to an identified community need.

“I also have no evidence before me to suggest that there is identifiable community support for the proposal.”

Mr Chandler added that the council’s local plan does not create a moratorium on new housing outside village boundaries but it does have a suitable set of rules.

By David Tooley
Local Democracy Reporter

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