Planning: four-room annexe to Devonshire Hotel, Hornchurch, gets go-ahead

A Hornchurch hotel will gain four bedrooms after councillors defied officers’ recommendations and granted planning permission for a new annexe.

Officers had advised that the application to build four extra rooms behind the Devonshire Hotel on Station Lane be rejected because the additional guests could disturb neighbours.

The council received four letters objecting to the plans, making reference to a deficiency in parking spaces for the new rooms, the possible disturbance caused to nearby homes, and the felling of mature trees as part of the proposal.

But Cllr Robert Benham (Conservative, Brooklands) gave the annexe his support, warning the planning committee: “The council will be mostly funded from business rates from next year.

“It’s vital that we do all we can to promote business growth.”

He added the hotel was “run to an extremely high standard” and “located on a busy main road, so I would question how much extra noise four more rooms would bring.”

But Cllr Clarence Barrett (Residents’ Association, Cranham) was unconvinced by Cllr Benham’s argument.

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“If this were granted there’d be an excess of noise and disturbance, and I haven’t heard anything that would mitigate against that,” he said.

Debating whether or not four extra rooms would create an unreasonable level of noise, chairman Cllr Barry Oddy (Conservative, Elm Park) remarked: “I’ve certainly heard strange noises coming out of hotel rooms at that time of night, but I’m not going into that.”

A motion to accept the proposal was passed by nine votes to two abstentions.