HIG Chester Property Sarl and Bride Hall Real Estate Partners were successful in their change-of-use planning application to provide a 112-bed hotel at Windsor House, Pepper Street, including a ground floor bar and restaurant and roof-top extension.
The companies, which also own The Grosvenor Shopping Centre across the road, have held ‘detailed discussions’ with Travelodge who are keen to secure extra bedrooms in the city in addition to their existing 60-bed hotel overlooking the amphitheatre.
The scheme will see accessible, double and family rooms across four floors including the extension on the fifth floor. Tesco Express will be retained at ground floor level with a small car park in a rear courtyard.
There were two objections covering grounds such as the loss of an office building that ‘attracts top quality local tenants’, the detrimental impact of the increased height on nearby listed buildings and insufficient car parking.
But passing the application, case officer Clare Appleyard wrote: “It is considered that there is sufficient headroom in Chester for office premises to absorb demand.”
She added: “In terms of impacts on the street scene, visualisations and views analysis from various points show the proposed changes would cause little harm to the city skyline.” She said there were a number of public car parks within a reasonable walking distance that could accommodate anticipated numbers of vehicles.
Travelodge previously ran a second 160-bed Chester hotel by the fountains roundabout which was controversial because of its functional appearance on a major gateway into the city centre.
But the budget hotel chain sold the building to the University of Chester for conversion to a hall of residence, now called Sumner House, as part of a 2012 rescue package for the group.
Travelodge had been dragged down by its £100m annual interest payments on debt so secured backing from creditors and landlords for a deal which involved selling 49 of its 500-plus hotels – described in the national press as poorer performing leases – including the Delamere Street operation. Travelodge has since seen a surge in profits.