Green light for 12-storey Travelodge in city centre despite design concerns

Designs for the new Travelodge in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth
Designs for the new Travelodge in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth
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A 12-storey Travelodge hotel will be the latest addition to Portsmouth's skyline after plans were approved.

Councillors on Portsmouth City Council's planning committee gave the go-ahead to the new building in Stanhope Road despite complaints over its 'disappointing' and 'formulaic' design.

Designs for the new Travelodge in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth

Designs for the new Travelodge in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth

The 152-bedroom hotel will be built on land next to the 1,000-flat student housing building Catherine House.

Despite strong criticism from the council's design review panel and the fact that trees by Victoria Park will be lost as a result of the development, councillors ultimately decided to give it the green light.

Four on the committee voted for approval while two voted against and one abstained.

In regards to its design, the panel's advice to the committee was to not support the plans, labeling it an 'insufficient adaptation of a standardised product.'

Committee chairman Councillor Jim Fleming, abstained from the vote, he said: 'The panel's advice on the scheme was the most scathing I have ever seen. For such an important development site in the city centre, there is some strong language here from the panel.'

Fellow Conservative councillor Steve Hastings voted in favour of the plans but admitted his distaste for the design, stating: 'When you look at how Catherine House has come together and how good it looks now, this design is disappointing. But we do need a hotel.'

Liberal Democrat Steve Pitt said: 'It is not a horrible building, as someone who has seen been to a few around the country, this is probably one of their better designs, but it is formulaic.

'This hotel is going to be there for a long time and it seems that there could be something better here.'

Original plans for the site would have seen basement parking provided for the hotel, however this was scrapped after council officers' concerns.

The proposals were resubmitted, taking the number of parking spaces down from 51 to 26.

More than 40 jobs are set to be created at the site with the chain taking a 25-year-lease on the site.

Planning consultant Phil Salmon said the proposals would 'enhance' the Victoria Park area.

He said: 'We have been in discussions with council officers for more than two years to make sure that the proposal is representative of the character of Portsmouth and the city centre.

'It will extend beyond the normal bounds of a standard franchised hotel chain.'

He also stated that on the hotel's top floors will be 'super rooms' catered to showcasing the view of the city skyline.

The chain is expecting to facilitate 72,000 customers a year, estimating a £728,000 boost to the city's economy per year.