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Mandolay Hotel Planning Application Refused – Despite Hotel Room Shortage

Published on: 6 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 9 Nov, 2013

planning-permissionAn application to extend the Mandolay Hotel on London Road to allow construction of an extra 25 bedrooms was refused, by an overwhelming majority of votes, at last night’s Guildford Borough Council’s (GBC) planning committee meeting.

Cllr Melanie Bright (Con, Holy Trinity), outlining the planning history of the hotel, said that the hotel had, since 2005, made 13 planning applications, nine of which were for extensions. Seven had been approved. But in this case she agreed with the council’s planning officer’s recommendation to refuse.

Ian Blythe, who carries out marketing work for the hotel, was the only public speaker supporting the application. He said that the hotel had improved significantly in recent years and: “the splendid exterior could now be considered a Guildford land-mark.”

Mr Blythe pointed out that Guildford has lost over 100 hotel bedrooms with the closure of other hotels in the area. The Mandolay had an occupancy rate of over 92 per cent and needed more capacity to continue trading competitively and meet peaks of demand.

Katie Relph, a Waterden Road resident, said: “We were shocked two years ago when the first planning application was put in by the hotel to build a 33 bedroom extension… and were hugely relieved when the council rejected the application.

“Then, if we fast forward to 2013, we were shocked again to find there were more plans for an extension. We were flabbergasted … this is, in fact, a three storey extension with 18 windows looking into our garden and house… It is far worse than the first in terms of… scale and height of building.”

Dr Relph also observed that most of the 43 statements of support were written by people who lived outside the locality. There had been 34 statements received by GBC objecting to the application

Another local resident Joanne Clark said that when she moved into her Waterden Road home, 16 years ago, she thought that living in a conservation area was something special.

But she said: “During the construction of the underground casino, Guildford lost two very rare crinkle crankle walls…. She also echoed planning officer concerns concerned that the application failed to reveal how the site would be accessed.”

All but two councillors voted to refuse the application. Cllrs Stephen Mansbridge (Con, Ash South & Tongham) and Monika Juneja (Con, Burpham) abstained.

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