'Anti-social behaviour' concerns over hotel rooms conversion

A Shropshire hotel has converted a dining room into new guest rooms, but its neighbours are concerned it is operating like a shared house or hostel and attracting “noise disturbance, trespassing and anti-social behaviour”.

The Norwood House Hotel, at Chetwynd Aston. Photo: Google.
The Norwood House Hotel, at Chetwynd Aston. Photo: Google.

The Norwood House Hotel, at Chetwynd Aston, near Newport, dates back to the 18th century and has been used as accommodation for vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a report, Telford & Wrekin Council officers recommend the borough’s planning committee grants retrospective permission for the five new rooms, assuring members the site will revert to regular guest accommodation after the pandemic.

But they note that the proposal, put forward by Norwood House Hotel Ltd, has attracted 42 objection letters and the ward councillor and parish council are also in opposition.

“The application seeks full planning permission to convert the existing restaurant section of the hotel into five additional hotel rooms,” the report says.

“There is still sufficient space on site to provide dining facilities.

“The rooms have been described as ‘budget’ hotel rooms and have shared bathroom facilities.”

Church Aston and Lilleshall councillor Andrew Eade, whose ward includes the hotel at the junction of Pave Lane and Pitchcroft Lane, has issued a “call-in” notice, requesting that it be decided in public by the committee rather than by council planning officers.

His objections include the view that the “car park is too small, causing overspill onto the highway” and that “the premises is not being operated as a hotel”.

Chetwynd Aston and Woodcote Parish Council has also objected, citing “concerns regarding the heritage of the site” and “occupancy levels”.

Public objection letters raise concerns including “noise and disturbance from residents of the hotel”, “residents of the hotel trespassing on private property” and “anti-social behaviour”, the report adds.

“Concerns have been raised during the consultation period regarding the current occupiers of the hotel, as it is currently being used as temporary accommodation to house vulnerable individuals from a Shropshire charity during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the report says.

“A request was made by the government for hotels and similar facilities to assist with housing vulnerable people during the pandemic. As a result, the hotel has been operating this way for some time.

“The current use of the facility could be linked to being a house of multiple occupation [HMO] or hostel.

“This temporary change could be carried out without any formal planning permission due to the circumstances. However, this is on the basis that the hotel returns to its previous operation following the pandemic.

“The applicant is applying to retain the rooms which have been converted, not to change the use permanently to an HMO or hostel.

“The LPA [local planning authority] is therefore considering the proposed additional rooms to the hotel only, not the suitability of the site as a temporary form of accommodation.”

The plans also include the like-for-like replacement of 12 existing timber window frames. This has not been carried out yet, the report says.

The committee will discuss the application on Wednesday, July 28.

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