New decision date set for Bobsleigh Hotel

An artist's impression of the new 100-bed hotel

An artist's impression of the new 100-bed hotel

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

Villagers fighting against controversial plans to redevelop a hotel in Bovingdon are in it "for the long haul" after the council set its latest decision date.

The council’s planning committee were scheduled to meet on Thursday June 5 to consider proposals to knock down the 47-bed hotel and replace it with a new 100 plus bed venue.

But since then, a number of dates have been set for the decision to be made and councillors are now set to meet on Thursday, October 16, to decide on the controversial plans.

Brad Gunn, chair of Bovingdon Action Group, said: "The community is in this for the long haul and has gone to great lengths to work with MacDonald Hotel Group, Dacorum Borough Council and Bovingdon Parish Council to find a redevelopment solution that is in keeping both with the residential area and the Green Belt in which the Bobsleigh Hotel is located.

"This has included numerous meetings with the council and two direct meetings, in December 2013 and January 2014, with MacDonald's representatives, the second of which, at our instigation was attended by our MP, David Gauke, in an effort to stress both the community's concern at what was being proposed and to help find a solution that meets everyone's needs.

"To date there has been little progress. "

So far, 68 objections have been lodged against the application, which was first registered in June 2013.

Nigel Gibbs, Dacorum Borough Council’s lead planning officer, said: "Officers are currently in discussions with the agents acting on the behalf of McDonalds Hotels and are negotiating outstanding queries so they can determine the application.

"Once all the relevant information is received there will be further public consultation with the local community. Following this the Council’s Development Control Committee will then consider the application. It is unclear at this stage as to which committee meeting that the council will make a decision upon the proposed hotel redevelopment."

But Mr Gunn told the Watford Observer that the hotel group in charge of the Bobsleigh had not responded to their concerns.

He said: "MacDonald still has not formally responded to the numerous issues and concerns raised by Dacorum, the Parish Council and the community who are all in agreement that while the Bobsleigh needs redevelopment, it must be done appropriately.

"We remain committed to working with MacDonald towards this goal and strongly opposed to the inappropriate scale and style of what has been proposed to date."

A statement from Macdonald Hotels said: "In recent months we have had further meetings with the local MP and representatives of the Bovingdon Action Group and as a result have made amendments to our planning application.

"A planning application has now been submitted and we are awaiting confirmation of a date when this will be considered by the relevant committee."

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