Britain’s most romantic hotel can expand - despite fierce objections from neighbours who fear ‘raucous’ behaviour by guests and invasion of their privacy.
Edgar House, an award-winning boutique hotel on Chester’s City Walls, has spectacular views over the River Dee and charges guests more than £200-a-night.
Among numerous travel industry accolades, it was named Europe’s most romantic hotel by TripAdvisor last year.
Owners Michael Stephen and Timothy Mills bought the house next door - 21A City Walls - for £450,000 two years ago.
And they have been granted planning permission to convert it into an annexe to the hotel, adding four more en suite bedrooms.
But neighbours James and Patricia Lewis, who live next door at 20-21 City Walls, fought the proposals tooth and nail.
They pointed to a covenant in number 21A’s title deeds, restricting its use to a single dwelling house.
Mrs Lewis told the Upper Tribunal in London that “no amount of money” could ever compensate her if the hotel project went ahead.
She feared her tranquility would be disturbed at all hours by taxis delivering noisy holiday makers to the hotel.
Tourists would have no interest in respecting her privacy and would be able to see directly into her garden, she complained.
The hotel owners, however, said their well-heeled guests pay a high price to enjoy “peaceful riverside luxury”.
They are not the type of tourists that come to Chester to “party” and there was no risk of noise from barking dogs, children or late night barbecues.
Allowing the hotel’s expansion to go ahead, Judge Martin Rodger QC said there was little risk of “raucous behaviour” by guests.
He accepted that even a hotel as “small and discrete” as Edgar House was bound to cause some disturbance to neighbours.
But the Lewis’ garden is right next to the well travelled pedestrian walkway along the city walls and “is not the most private space”.
And, although “beautifully kept”, the couple’s home and garden are “intrinsically uninteresting” and very unlikely to attract hotel guests’ curious gaze.
Modifying the covenant, the judge said the single dwelling house restriction brought no “practical benefits of substantial value or advantage” to Mr and Mrs Lewis.
The ruling means that the hotel owners can press ahead with their annexe plan, although Judge Rodger imposed conditions to protect the Lewis’ privacy, including a ban on decking and garden furniture in the garden of number 21A.