Morbaine succeeds with 244-bed hotel

The developer, whose plans for student housing on Hoole Way in Chester were refused in 2017, has won approval for a 100,000 sq ft hotel instead on the same site.

Cheshire West and Chester Council approved the 244-bed hotel scheme under statutory powers subject to a list of conditions being met.

The conditions require the developer to undertake site assessments related to drainage, highways, air quality, land contamination, car parking provision, noise pollution and more, and to provide certain other information to the council.

Under the plans from Widnes-based Morbaine, a seven-storey hotel would be built on a site next to Hoole Bridge in Newtown, with associated parking, landscaping and other works.

The hotel, with a gross internal area of 105,000 sq ft, would have access from Black Diamond Park, a residential street in Chester.

The site is in a prominent position on a main route into Chester city centre, close to the train station and city centre boundary, according to the planning documents drawn up by consultancy Nexus Planning.

The site is currently in use as a temporary surface car park for short- and long-term parking, approved under an application last March following remediation works.

Morbaine lodged plans for the hotel designed by architecture studio Leach Rhodes Walker last November, abandoning its previous plans to build a 376-bed, eight-storey student accommodation block at the site.

The original application from Mprbaine Student Accommodation was initially refused unanimously by Cheshire West & Chester in 2017, with councillors arguing that the proposal would “dwarf” nearby buildings.

However, the decision was overturned on appeal in December that year, with an inspector ruling the council had “behaved unreasonably” in making its decision.

In documents detailing its decision to approve the subsequent hotel scheme, the council noted: “Due to wider external commercial factors the student scheme was never progressed, and an alternative use for the site is now sought.”

The replacement hotel scheme is expected to “contribute to improving Chester as a leisure and tourism destination”, the documents said.


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