Whatever happened to that proposed Whitbread Hotel on York Way? planning update

62-68 york way - proposed view of siteThe application for the hotel on the American Carwash site was due to go to the planning committee last week, but was pulled.  I asked Cllr Convery what had happened – there were technical problems:

Planning officers failed to recognise that the application included a change of use from “B1” (offices). That’s because the owners (Opticrealm) had obtained a planning permission for B1 use previously and had begun to implement it. They began some nominal works (a short trench was dug) but more significantly, Opticrealm had made an “on commencement” S106 payment to the Council. This was done seemingly to avoid an existing 3 year permission expiring because that would have taken Opticrealm back to scratch.

The reason this is significant is because change of use requires a better deal compared with permission merely to build. Many planning applications require two permissions – to change the established use and to erect whatever the applicant has designed. Without change of use permission being required the threshold required by a developer is a little lower than if they they are just erecting a building.

Everyone makes mistakes etc but this is frustrating.  It does give the council a bit more leverage though.  Will hopefully come back to the committee in the next few weeks.

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust and Tinder Foundation.
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5 Responses to Whatever happened to that proposed Whitbread Hotel on York Way? planning update

  1. Geoff says:

    Not sure that this is factually correct. Just because a permission has been implemented, it does not necessarily follow that a change of use has occurred. It’s a matter of fact and degree, and in this case it strikes me that the property is still in the same, rather run-down, use that it has been for many years.

    Seems to me that Council greed has got in the way of them carrying out their responsibilities in a timely manner.

    • Rupert Perry says:

      Interesting points, and indeed having seen numerous applications come and go for this site, I think it is worth spending a little more time getting to a position where the planning committee can make a decision on clear facts. It was unfortunate that the item was not pulled from the meeting at the start, so apologies to those who sat through the previous long item before learning that the Hotel application had to be postponed.
      Part of the Section 106 agreement for this application relates to securing jobs and training for local people, and if this is Council greed, then I plead guilty.

  2. Abbas says:

    Hi I am looking for a retail unit small one on that site or around, can you local guys help? In fact there is a small unit next to that American car wash is free do you know who it belongs to?

  3. Abbas, planning permission has been granted for a hotel on that site. It will have ground floor retail units. I suggest you approach Whitbread, the developers, if you want one. However, it won’t be built for another 18 months or so. And I suspect the rents may be a bit pricey.

  4. ADSH says:

    They have started – scaffolding up, parking lot cleared and American Car Wash has moved…

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