Proposals to demolish Rickmansworth’s only remaining hotel were unanimously thrown out by politicians after they judged the plans to be “not yet good enough”.

The application to turn Long Island Exchange, in Victoria Close, into 31 residential units was rejected by Three Rivers councillors at the district’s planning meeting last night.

This is the third time that contentious plans have been submitted to the council to build flats and houses on the site.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat-run council, Ann Shaw, said: “As you know, we have discussed this several times before. It is a matter of great concern, both to members of this committee and to residents.”

Councillor Shaw said there was growing concern over the “impact” the development would have on Rickmansworth, neighbours of the hotel and on the conservation area.

She added: “This plan is less bad than others we have looked at but not yet good enough.”

Councillor officers recommended to politicians that they reject the application, which sought to build 27 flats and four houses on the site.

One of the reasons why the proposals were recommended for refusal was because the listed locally important building “by reason of its historical and architectural merit makes a significant contribution to the local scene”.

In a report submitted to the council, officers added: “The proposal would involve the loss of a locally important building which would adversely affect the character and appearance of the local scene.”

The application is the third one to be submitted by property developer, Keay Homes, to Three Rivers to turn the hotel, which dates back to at least 1888, into homes.

A proposal was thrown out in December 2012 to demolish the hotel and build 87 flats and five town houses and a further application was thrown out in March 2013 to build 65 residential units.