HUGE disappointment has been expressed at plans to demolish an historical building in Kenilworth to make way for 55 new homes.
The proposal to build the houses on the site of the former Woodside Hotel and Conference Centre in Glasshouse Lane are recommended for approval by Warwick District Council’s planning committee when members meet on Thursday (December 14).
This is despite staunch opposition from Kenilworth Town Council and Kenilworth and Southam MP Sir Jeremy Wright.
There have also been 25 letters of objection from the public.
All the buildings on the site will be demolished under the proposal, including the original house known as ‘Woodside’ – originally ‘Glass House’ , an historic stable block and a number of later 20th century additions. The original core buildings are locally listed.
The existing lawful use of the site is a former hotel and conference centre, however it has been disused since the beginning of the Covid restrictions in March 2020.
During that period, the business went into administration and despite best efforts, did not attract a potential operator to continue the business.
The town council has objected to the plans on a host of grounds including the loss of a locally listed heritage asset. Councillors said the buildings hold significant historic value to the town and residents and its loss would be “a huge disappointment”.
They also objected to the fact only 16 per cent of the homes would constitute affordable housing and the quality and design of the houses was “very standard”.
Mr Wright expressed disappointment that the hotel operators did not believe they could maintain a viable business and questioned the conclusion the hotel could never be made viable again.
He added that he did not see justification for more housing around Kenilworth in addition to the very expansive development underway or in prospect, concluding: “I do not believe the basis for the replacement of the Local Heritage Asset in the Woodside Conference Centre with more housing would be appropriate and hope the application will be refused.”
Objections from the public included that Kenilworth was changing too fast and the essence was being lost, heritage sites should be protected, and a locally listed building should be retained and converted rather than demolished.
Planning officers recommended the planning committee grant the application on the basis it was a high quality scheme which would be integrated within the surrounding landscape.
Their report continued: “While the proposal will result in the total loss of a non-designated heritage asset, the report indicates that it is not possible to resist the loss and whilst unfortunate, there are no grounds to resist the development on this ground.”