Long Island Exchange could be replaced by flats and houses

Rickmansworth hotel could be demolished for homes

Rickmansworth hotel could be demolished for homes

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

One of Rickmansworth’s most prominent local landmarks could be demolished and replaced with a modern block of flats.

The Long Island Exchange hotel is the first thing many people see when they exit the station but few realise the main building dates back to approximately 1888, making it the oldest and only surviving hotel in the town.

Property developer Keay Homes has applied for planning permission to demolish the 120-year-old hotel - which was at one stage home to composer Arnold Bax and was the venue for The Proms for two years during World War Two - and replace it with 87 modern flats and five townhouses.

On learning of the application, Rickmansworth councillor Paula Hiscocks, a member of the planning committee at Three Rivers District Council, and Councillor David Sansom sought to have the property locally listed as an important historical building, a move that would afford it special protection.

They were told the building did not meet the criteria to be added to the borough’s 350 locally listed buildings, a decision they both contest.

In addition, Councillor Hiscocks was banned from joining in discussions or votes on the application by council chief executive Steven Halls after allegedly "predetermining" her views on the application.

She said: "We had a meeting with the chief executive after he initially said no [to locally listed status], he told us he would be happy to see it demolished.

"We want to know why this can’t now be locally listed as I believe not including it in the first place was an oversight.

"It is a lovely building inside and the hotel is well used by people on business and those visiting Watersmeet. If there is no hotel, the town will lose business.

"This is a good building, it has got a lot of historic interest and it’s a landmark - if we lose this we’re not going to get it back.

"If this is what the council want to do in Rickmansworth then let’s pull the whole thing down and build Milton Keynes."

Councillor Hiscocks also denies she has made up her mind about the application, saying she would accept a conversion to apartments provided the structure of the pub - formerly the Victoria Hotel - was protected.

She said: "This is supposed to be a democracy but one officer has made the decision not to locally list it and there can be no appeals process.

"This is a landmark building but I do not go in with a concrete frame of mind, I go into it with an opinion as any other councillor would.

"I’m thinking about it no differently to how any other councillor would."

In a statement, Mr Halls said: "Committee members who make objections to, and take a fixed stance on, a planning application prior to it coming to a committee meeting and who have firmly made up their mind in advance on how they will deal with the application, cannot then take part in and vote on that application.

"To do so with such a closed mind would amount to bias and predetermination which would jeopardise the whole decision making process.

"As with other planning committee meetings, the discussion and vote will be held in public.

"Residents are welcome to attend and there will be the usual opportunity for them to speak for or against an application, in line with the committee’s usual procedure."

The site was listed in the council’s Local Development Framework in 2009 as a suitable location for housing to be built. The developer’s application is due to be heard early next year.

Comments (23)

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10:09am Thu 15 Nov 12

TRT says...

That really is a very prominent landmark, and I would very greatly saddened if it is replaced by another generic stack of "little boxes on a hillside". We've lost so many distinctive and characterful properties in the area already; The Rice House springs to mind immediately, and though we have gained a few distinctive new apartment blocks, like the one on the old auctioneer site opposite Watford High Street, those gains should not come at the expense of Hertfordshire's characterful buildings.
That really is a very prominent landmark, and I would very greatly saddened if it is replaced by another generic stack of "little boxes on a hillside". We've lost so many distinctive and characterful properties in the area already; The Rice House springs to mind immediately, and though we have gained a few distinctive new apartment blocks, like the one on the old auctioneer site opposite Watford High Street, those gains should not come at the expense of Hertfordshire's characterful buildings. TRT
  • Score: 0

10:17am Thu 15 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

Stitch-up against the people of Rickmansworth.

This should be listed as a local landmark of character and history.

Another block of bloody characterless flats? No thanks!
Stitch-up against the people of Rickmansworth. This should be listed as a local landmark of character and history. Another block of bloody characterless flats? No thanks! Reg Edit
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Thu 15 Nov 12

crazyfrog says...

it seems such a strange stance for the chief exec Steven Halls to adopt when refering to one of Rickmansworths oldest and biggest buildings, The fact that he would be happy to see it demolished disturbs me somewhat and the fact that he is THDC chief executive even more so. It would be a total outrage to see this building go! why is steven Hills set on this building going?
it seems such a strange stance for the chief exec Steven Halls to adopt when refering to one of Rickmansworths oldest and biggest buildings, The fact that he would be happy to see it demolished disturbs me somewhat and the fact that he is THDC chief executive even more so. It would be a total outrage to see this building go! why is steven Hills set on this building going? crazyfrog
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Thu 15 Nov 12

LSC says...

I find it somewhat bizarre that a coucillor, who is only there TO REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED THEM is barred from taking part in the vote because they already know what they want as the outcome.

This is a planning application, not a jury on a murder trial!
I find it somewhat bizarre that a coucillor, who is only there TO REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED THEM is barred from taking part in the vote because they already know what they want as the outcome. This is a planning application, not a jury on a murder trial! LSC
  • Score: 0

12:32pm Thu 15 Nov 12

TRT says...

There is something rotten in the state of Rickmansworth.
There is something rotten in the state of Rickmansworth. TRT
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Thu 15 Nov 12

crazyfrog says...

Rickmansworth railway station opened up in 1887 then the Victoria Hotel opposite in 1888 to accomodate visitors to the area brought in by the Metropolitan Railway by 1894 you could of walked over to the Hotel's stables and hired a "fly" a one horse two wheeled light carriage operated by G.T Bunce, a bit of a difference than jumping into a Boughtons cab from outside the station nowadays ! i think this building is certainly worth saving, but looks like one man has the monopoly on what happens to it ! dont you just love democracy
Rickmansworth railway station opened up in 1887 then the Victoria Hotel opposite in 1888 to accomodate visitors to the area brought in by the Metropolitan Railway by 1894 you could of walked over to the Hotel's stables and hired a "fly" a one horse two wheeled light carriage operated by G.T Bunce, a bit of a difference than jumping into a Boughtons cab from outside the station nowadays ! i think this building is certainly worth saving, but looks like one man has the monopoly on what happens to it ! dont you just love democracy crazyfrog
  • Score: 0

1:34pm Thu 15 Nov 12

crazyfrog says...

go to three rivers planning portal and put this ref number in 12/1794/FUL then go to documents which there are 58 then download the heritage assesment on the front is a picture or what the development will look like and believe me its hideous! wouldnt look out of place in somewhere like hayes, this is really going to ruin our town !
go to three rivers planning portal and put this ref number in 12/1794/FUL then go to documents which there are 58 then download the heritage assesment on the front is a picture or what the development will look like and believe me its hideous! wouldnt look out of place in somewhere like hayes, this is really going to ruin our town ! crazyfrog
  • Score: 0

1:51pm Thu 15 Nov 12

TRT says...

Urgh. I had the misfortune to have to drive through Slough recently. Same story. Characterful old properties erased by a swathe of "designer" boxes. Ugly, horrible and a dis-service to our both our heritage and our grandchildren.
Urgh. I had the misfortune to have to drive through Slough recently. Same story. Characterful old properties erased by a swathe of "designer" boxes. Ugly, horrible and a dis-service to our both our heritage and our grandchildren. TRT
  • Score: 0

2:01pm Thu 15 Nov 12

croxley46 says...

I remember it well as the Victoria Hotel, with a lot of character and a good restaurant which we frequented regularly for Sunday lunch. Not been back since it became Long Island Exchange - yet another American style eaterie for the younger generations. When/where will it all end? Bring back the "Vic" (no, not that one) and the Cassiobury Park Gates whilst we're at it.......
I remember it well as the Victoria Hotel, with a lot of character and a good restaurant which we frequented regularly for Sunday lunch. Not been back since it became Long Island Exchange - yet another American style eaterie for the younger generations. When/where will it all end? Bring back the "Vic" (no, not that one) and the Cassiobury Park Gates whilst we're at it....... croxley46
  • Score: 0

2:07pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

If it's a choice between the hotel or the Chief Exec, I know which one I would keep.

We pay his wages, I suggest we stop doing that.
If it's a choice between the hotel or the Chief Exec, I know which one I would keep. We pay his wages, I suggest we stop doing that. Reg Edit
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Thu 15 Nov 12

fugu says...

Sounds like council chief executive Steven Halls has "predetermined" his decision if demolishing the hotel would make him "happy". He needs to be removed from any decision making process too.
Sounds like council chief executive Steven Halls has "predetermined" his decision if demolishing the hotel would make him "happy". He needs to be removed from any decision making process too. fugu
  • Score: 0

3:40pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

fugu wrote:
Sounds like council chief executive Steven Halls has "predetermined" his decision if demolishing the hotel would make him "happy". He needs to be removed from any decision making process too.
Double-standards in council? Never!
[quote][p][bold]fugu[/bold] wrote: Sounds like council chief executive Steven Halls has "predetermined" his decision if demolishing the hotel would make him "happy". He needs to be removed from any decision making process too.[/p][/quote]Double-standards in council? Never! Reg Edit
  • Score: 0

3:59pm Thu 15 Nov 12

crazyfrog says...

fugu wrote:
Sounds like council chief executive Steven Halls has "predetermined" his decision if demolishing the hotel would make him "happy". He needs to be removed from any decision making process too.
it seems to me like the chief executive is for some reason going to railroad this developement through no matter what the residents who pay his salary think ! by removing an elected councilllor from voting or from the discussion process is absolutely disgusting and flys in the face of democracy and sticks two fingers up to TRDC residents, silencing councillors is not the thing to do. If he does suceed in silencing councillor hiscocks i believe TRDC residents should seek for the chief executives resignation!
[quote][p][bold]fugu[/bold] wrote: Sounds like council chief executive Steven Halls has "predetermined" his decision if demolishing the hotel would make him "happy". He needs to be removed from any decision making process too.[/p][/quote]it seems to me like the chief executive is for some reason going to railroad this developement through no matter what the residents who pay his salary think ! by removing an elected councilllor from voting or from the discussion process is absolutely disgusting and flys in the face of democracy and sticks two fingers up to TRDC residents, silencing councillors is not the thing to do. If he does suceed in silencing councillor hiscocks i believe TRDC residents should seek for the chief executives resignation! crazyfrog
  • Score: 0

6:21pm Thu 15 Nov 12

pr76uk says...

So it's been on the LDF for 3 years and nobody thought to do anything about this, for example get the building listed?

The place is run down and hardly beloved by many. No wonder the owners have flogged it off to be knocked down rather than as a going concern!
So it's been on the LDF for 3 years and nobody thought to do anything about this, for example get the building listed? The place is run down and hardly beloved by many. No wonder the owners have flogged it off to be knocked down rather than as a going concern! pr76uk
  • Score: 0

2:19pm Fri 16 Nov 12

savelongislandcampaign says...

You can see the proposed development on our blogspot: http://savelongislan
d.blogspot.com. It would be an understatement to say that it really isn't in keeping with the surrounding area! Interestingly, despite the lack of investment in the hotel, it is still running at almost full capacity most of the time.
You can see the proposed development on our blogspot: http://savelongislan d.blogspot.com. It would be an understatement to say that it really isn't in keeping with the surrounding area! Interestingly, despite the lack of investment in the hotel, it is still running at almost full capacity most of the time. savelongislandcampaign
  • Score: 0

4:08pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Kevin Snow says...

Planning Committee decisions are made by the Councillors who sit on the Committee.

As with other Committee decisions, this application will be discussed and decided in public.

Date for the meeting TBA and expected for early in the New Year. The public are welcome to attend the Planning Committee and there is limited opportunity to speak for and against an application.

The public and other key stakeholders have been consulted on the application. People’s responses will be carefully considered by the Committee in the usual way.

You are welcome to sign up to the Council’s monthly Planning e-newslettter on the newsletter menu tab at www.threerivers.gov.
uk

Kevin Snow / communications team /Three Rivers DC
Planning Committee decisions are made by the Councillors who sit on the Committee. As with other Committee decisions, this application will be discussed and decided in public. Date for the meeting TBA and expected for early in the New Year. The public are welcome to attend the Planning Committee and there is limited opportunity to speak for and against an application. The public and other key stakeholders have been consulted on the application. People’s responses will be carefully considered by the Committee in the usual way. You are welcome to sign up to the Council’s monthly Planning e-newslettter on the newsletter menu tab at www.threerivers.gov. uk Kevin Snow / communications team /Three Rivers DC Kevin Snow
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Sat 17 Nov 12

crazyfrog says...

@ savelongislandcampai
gn -
your blog website is very good, one thing to add, are you going to form a co-ordinated campaign group? there is no point of contact for yourself other than the comments section, This week is going to be the most important week as people have got to be made aware that they only have until this Thursday 22nd november to register on the Council planning website and offer their objections after that date peoples objections wont be entered on the planning apllication.
@ savelongislandcampai gn - your blog website is very good, one thing to add, are you going to form a co-ordinated campaign group? there is no point of contact for yourself other than the comments section, This week is going to be the most important week as people have got to be made aware that they only have until this Thursday 22nd november to register on the Council planning website and offer their objections after that date peoples objections wont be entered on the planning apllication. crazyfrog
  • Score: 0

3:40pm Sat 17 Nov 12

crazyfrog says...

Kevin Snow wrote:
Planning Committee decisions are made by the Councillors who sit on the Committee. As with other Committee decisions, this application will be discussed and decided in public. Date for the meeting TBA and expected for early in the New Year. The public are welcome to attend the Planning Committee and there is limited opportunity to speak for and against an application. The public and other key stakeholders have been consulted on the application. People’s responses will be carefully considered by the Committee in the usual way. You are welcome to sign up to the Council’s monthly Planning e-newslettter on the newsletter menu tab at www.threerivers.gov. uk Kevin Snow / communications team /Three Rivers DC
well one of those councillors has already been silenced have they not?

The chief executive has been quoted as saying that he would be happy to see it demolished, and thus has refused to apply for listed status.

So given the events so far the local community has an up hill battle to save this Victorian Hotel have they not?

so much for transparent Democracy in Three Rivers !
[quote][p][bold]Kevin Snow[/bold] wrote: Planning Committee decisions are made by the Councillors who sit on the Committee. As with other Committee decisions, this application will be discussed and decided in public. Date for the meeting TBA and expected for early in the New Year. The public are welcome to attend the Planning Committee and there is limited opportunity to speak for and against an application. The public and other key stakeholders have been consulted on the application. People’s responses will be carefully considered by the Committee in the usual way. You are welcome to sign up to the Council’s monthly Planning e-newslettter on the newsletter menu tab at www.threerivers.gov. uk Kevin Snow / communications team /Three Rivers DC[/p][/quote]well one of those councillors has already been silenced have they not? The chief executive has been quoted as saying that he would be happy to see it demolished, and thus has refused to apply for listed status. So given the events so far the local community has an up hill battle to save this Victorian Hotel have they not? so much for transparent Democracy in Three Rivers ! crazyfrog
  • Score: 0

4:42pm Tue 20 Nov 12

gemimap says...

Steven Halls misunderstands his role as a local authority chief executive, which, presumably, is to carry out decisions made by democratically elected councillors. In making the comment that he would be happy to see Long Island pulled down he has abused his position of power and sought to influence the planning committee. Rather than pontificating on subjects that are not his concern this four day a week chief executive would do better to ensure that capital projects, eg the William Penn fiasco, do not incur over £4 million overrun of tax payers' money - that is certainly in his remit.
Steven Halls misunderstands his role as a local authority chief executive, which, presumably, is to carry out decisions made by democratically elected councillors. In making the comment that he would be happy to see Long Island pulled down he has abused his position of power and sought to influence the planning committee. Rather than pontificating on subjects that are not his concern this four day a week chief executive would do better to ensure that capital projects, eg the William Penn fiasco, do not incur over £4 million overrun of tax payers' money - that is certainly in his remit. gemimap
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Wed 21 Nov 12

crazyfrog says...

Anybody else having problems with the online planning website? keeps showing Error, oh well what a bit of luck for the developers then as its the last day today to submit online objections to the Developement application and then the Planning website develops a problem so you cant object online !! lets hope this "Error" is fixed shortly
Anybody else having problems with the online planning website? keeps showing Error, oh well what a bit of luck for the developers then as its the last day today to submit online objections to the Developement application and then the Planning website develops a problem so you cant object online !! lets hope this "Error" is fixed shortly crazyfrog
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Wed 21 Nov 12

TRT says...

Take some screen grabs of the errors and submit them ASAP. If the period for objections is in any way compromised, then they may extend the deadline. They did that for me when I pointed out that only half the statutory notices had been delivered in a timely fashion (the other half of the block got theirs two weeks later after they'd complained they knew nothing about the development I'd asked them about).
Take some screen grabs of the errors and submit them ASAP. If the period for objections is in any way compromised, then they may extend the deadline. They did that for me when I pointed out that only half the statutory notices had been delivered in a timely fashion (the other half of the block got theirs two weeks later after they'd complained they knew nothing about the development I'd asked them about). TRT
  • Score: 0

3:02pm Wed 21 Nov 12

crazyfrog says...

Appears to be working again now ! if it goes down again i shall do that.
Appears to be working again now ! if it goes down again i shall do that. crazyfrog
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Wed 21 Nov 12

crazyfrog says...

sorry its the last day tomorrow to submit comments thrusday 22nd
sorry its the last day tomorrow to submit comments thrusday 22nd crazyfrog
  • Score: 0

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