Councillors speaks out after Thetford hotel gets green light for 2nd extension

The Warrener, Premier Inn, Thetford.

The Warrener, Premier Inn, Thetford. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A councillor has spoken out against the 'anti-democratic' planning system after a hotel got the green light for its second extension in three years.

The Warrener Inn, in Brandon Road, Thetford, is to go ahead with a planned two-storey extension – which will see an adjoining property demolished.

It follows two failed applications by the hotel to expand and a successful extension in 2013 which saw another house, Warren Edge, brought to the ground.

Terry Jermy, Thetford Town, Breckland and Norfolk County councillor, requested that the latest proposal be looked at by Breckland Council's planning committee, but was denied.

'I find this a very disappointing situation and very anti-democratic,' he said.

'Previous expansion plans for the Warrener were controversial and were debated by the planning committee. This latest application has been objected to strongly by Thetford Town Council, local councillors and residents.

'Brandon Road consists of a mix of individually designed properties and the loss of much needed housing in this way is unacceptable in my opinion.'

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A Mr and Mrs Settle, who will become the hotel's new neighbours, lodged an objection with Breckland saying the proposals were 'an inappropriate change of use in order to facilitate further commercial activity in a residential area'.

Another couple from nearby Mackenzie Road lodged concerns about the high roof line and increased light pollution from the car park, stating: 'The whole aspect of the approach into Thetford from the A11 is slowly being degraded by unsuitably planned development.'

A spokesperson for Breckland Council said: 'The chairman (of the planning committee) declined the request as the application raised the same issues that had already been considered in a similar, previously approved application – that the request for increased hotel accommodation required the loss of a dwelling.'

Graham Hedley, project and programme manager for Premier Inn, said: 'We have experienced strong visitor demand in Thetford and consistently high occupancy. Our new extension will increase our capacity and welcome more guests to the area, as well as driving over ?£2 million in fresh investment and creating four new jobs for the local area.

'Now we have planning approval, we hope to start work on site in autumn this year for an early 2017 completion.'

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