Leamington hotel with a chequered history is set to be demolished and converted into apartments
In previous years, it had its drinks licence suspended and its former owners were found guilty of repeated fire safety breaches
A Leamington hotel with a chequered history, including having its drinks licence suspended and its former owners being found guilty of repeated fire safety breaches, is to be converted into apartments.
The beleaguered Falstaff Hotel, on Warwick New Road, was bought by Turnbrook Ltd in 2019 who carried out a major refurbishment to turn it around after its troubles, renaming it The Jephson.
But trade has been hit by the coronavirus lockdowns, prompting plans to be submitted for 27 flats - six of them one-bed apartments and the remainder having two bedrooms.
The work will see major demolition work carried out as the property is returned to three Victoria villas with a garden area and car parking to the rear, off Warwick Place.
A report considered by members of Warwick District Council’s planning committee when they met last night (Tuesday) explained that no affordable housing would be included and no section 106 contributions would be sought because of the viability of the conversion.
It added: “The resultant scheme will re-establish the original character of the three Victorian villas on the Warwick New Road frontage. This will have a significantly positive impact on the character of the street scene and wider Royal Leamington Spa Conservation Area.”
Cllr Geraldine Cullinane (Lab, Leamington Clarendon) said: “I think they are doing a really good job in returning it to three Victorian villas and it will look brilliant when finished but for the people living in them, I feel the size and amenity open space around them is very, very limited.
“Over the last year, if you live in a flat you need open space around you and I feel it is inadequate. Some of the flats are extremely small.”
Plans show that the smallest flat measures just 44 square metres while national guidelines suggest it should be 50 sq m.
Planning officer Dan Charles said that in terms of the open space and outdoor space the development met the standard but admitted there had been discussions over the size of some of the apartments.
He said: “This is something that we did flag with the applicants during the course of the application and they have said it is down to viability that they have had to provide this number of units.”
Cllr Richard Dickson (Lib Dem, Kenilworth St John’s) pointed out that the number of parking spaces fell below the council’s requirements but development services manager Gary Fisher said: “This is a town centre site and there will be access to bus routes.
“It is appropriate to look at opportunities which may not meet our car park standards. Your officers would suggest that it isn’t a reason to object but a reason to commend the scheme.”
Councillors approved the plans with just one abstention.