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Brighton hotel plans approved after revote by council planning commitee
Hotel plans for a former ice rink have got the go-ahead – after a revote by councillors.
About 25 campaigners left Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee meeting yesterday thinking the proposal for a five-storey hotel in Queen Square, Brighton had been rejected.
However, after councillors could not agree on the reasons for rejecting expert officer’s advice to approve the scheme, a revote was taken where it was approved.
Residents have called the decision “shambolic” adding they will be questioning the legality of the outcome.
Brighton-based architects Conran and Partners are behind the plans to create The Light ApartHotel on the site near Brighton’s Clock Tower, which has been vacant since 2003.
It includes ground floor café and restaurants below four storeys of 56 apartments Up to 30 new jobs are expected to be created.
However locals were worried it was too tall believing this would have a negative impact on the nearby medieval St Nicholas’ church and the 19th Century row of houses known as Wykeham Terrace.
An initial vote saw five councillors vote for, five against and two abstentions.
It was rejected on the casting vote of planning committee chairman Christopher Hawtree.
However, after councillors could not agree the reasons to reject it in a closed room, a revote was taken which saw the decision reversed and the plans approved.
Mark Barrowcliffe, 47, of Wykeham Terrace, said: “It seems to have been completely shambolic.
“I will be calling for the chairman of the committee to resign and for exactly what was discussed in that room.
“We had already left the chamber and celebrating after the refusal.
“We’re going to be questioning the legality of the decision. The last thing Brighton needs is another party hotel.
After the meeting, Paul Zara, of Conran and Partners, said: “The Light will bring a different type of accommodation to Brighton and is aimed at both the business and the leisure traveller.
“We have created a stylish, modern building that will bring new activity to Queen Square, while respecting its location and the sensitivity of the churchyard to the north.
“We have also listened to and acted on the comments from local people during the design and the planning process.”
The Light concept is the brainchild of London-based company Stonehurst Estates, which operates a similar hotel in Manchester.