Council loses Southgate hotel planning appeal

Developer wins permission to expand hotel plans to include 107 rooms, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A computer-generated image of the proposed hotel (credit Palmers Green Investments/Jefferson Sheard Architects)
A computer-generated image of the proposed hotel in Burleigh Gardens (credit Palmers Green Investments/Jefferson Sheard Architects)

A developer has won permission to turn a former office block in Southgate into a 107-room hotel following a successful appeal against Enfield Council.

Palmers Green Investments has been given the go-ahead to convert Ever Ready House in Burleigh Gardens and add an extra storey to the block after a government-appointed planning inspector overturned the council’s decision to refuse permission.

Ever Ready House was a four-storey block at the end of a mainly residential street. The developer already had permission from the council to turn the block into a 66-bedroom hotel, and construction work is underway. It subsequently applied to add another storey and increase the number of rooms.

Council planning chiefs refused permission in July last year, saying there was insufficient evidence to show the scheme would not harm Southgate Circus Conservation Area, which is home to Grade-2 listed Southgate Station.

They also said the building would be out of character with the surrounding area; harm neighbours’ light levels, outlook and privacy; and argued that the developer had failed to provide enough information on the potential impact on the highway network.

But in a decision notice published last month, planning inspector David Wallis upheld the developer’s appeal. He wrote that Palmers Green Investments had since supplied information to address the heritage concerns and that “there would not be any impact on the setting of the underground station”.

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Noting that there are already “multi-storey buildings close by”, the inspector added: “The separation of the appeal site from the listed buildings within the conservation area, combined with the intervening buildings of varying height and scale, would limit any adverse impact on the setting of those assets.”

Addressing the impact on neighbours, the inspector wrote that the scheme “would not give rise to an unacceptable loss of light, outlook or privacy and therefore would not harm the living conditions of nearby residents”.

Responding to concerns over the impact on the road network, the inspector suggested that a “high proportion of visitors” were likely to use public transport to access the hotel, which would have 24 parking spaces.

He added: “Due to the likely ebb and flow of visitors to the hotel, as opposed to the potential peak-time traffic attending the site’s former office use, it is unlikely the proposed development would contribute significantly to any congestion in the locality.”

The developer also sought to recover costs from the council, but was unsuccessful.

A council spokesperson said: “Enfield Council’s planning function is an independent regulatory function which is responsible for making decisions which are in the best interests of Enfield’s residents.

“It is disappointing that the decision of a group of expert officers with a wealth of local knowledge, that was made in best interests of local people and protecting the character of the area, has been overturned by a nationally-appointed planning inspector.”

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