CONTENTIOUS plans to demolish an historical building in Kenilworth to make way for 55 new homes have been thrown out on environmental grounds.
The proposal to build the houses on the site of the former Woodside Hotel and Conference Centre in Glasshouse Lane were recommended for approval by Warwick District Council’s planning committee on Thursday (December 14).
But councillors voted to reject the application on the basis the sustainability of the proposed dwellings did not comply with WDC’s Net Zero planning document which is set to be adopted imminently.
The decision will be good news to residents, Kenilworth Town Council and Kenilworth and Southam MP Sir Jeremy Wright who were staunchly against the plans.
The proposal would have seen all the buildings on the site demolished, including the original house known as ‘Woodside’ – originally ‘Glass House’ , an historic stable block and a number of later 20th century additions. The original core buildings are locally listed.
The existing lawful use of the site is a former hotel and conference centre, however it has been disused since the beginning of the Covid restrictions in March 2020.
During that period, the business went into administration and despite best efforts, did not attract a potential operator to continue the business.
The town council objected to the plans on a host of grounds including the loss of a locally listed heritage asset. Councillors said the buildings hold significant historic value to the town and residents and its loss would be “a huge disappointment”.
They also objected to the fact only 16 per cent of the homes would constitute affordable housing and the quality and design of the houses was “very standard”.
Mr Wright expressed disappointment that the hotel operators did not believe they could maintain a viable business and questioned the conclusion the hotel could never be made viable again.
There were 25 letters of objection from the public.
Concerns included that Kenilworth was changing too fast and the essence was being lost, heritage sites should be protected, and a locally listed building should be retained and converted rather than demolished.
Planning officers had recommended the planning committee grant the application on the basis it was a high quality scheme which would be integrated within the surrounding landscape.