Councillors have backed plans to demolish a Bushey hotel to make room for new warehouse space.

Developers Griggs Homes and private investment company First Urban brought forward plans to replace the "struggling" Mercure Hotel on the A41 with almost 15,000sqm of warehouse space.

The developers argued the plans would bring the site back into more effective use, while also addressing a shortfall in employment space in the borough.

The application estimates that 375 jobs would be created after completion, as well as 360 jobs during the construction phase.

In their application, the developers said the hotel had "reached the end of its productive and viable life", and it is currently being used on a temporary basis by the Home Office.

Watford Observer: Mercure hotel. Credit: Google Street ViewMercure hotel. Credit: Google Street View

The application was for outline planning permission for the scheme, with details on access, appearance and layout to be determined at a later date.

The developers told members of the planning committee at a meeting on January 13 the location near to the A41, M1 and M25 make it a suitable location for the scheme, while also contributing to the amount of warehouse space in the area.

Officers were satisfied this constituted very special circumstances to allow for building on the green belt, and as the development is on previously developed land there would not be a significant impact.

Watford Observer: CGi of the warehouses on the hotel site. Credit: Regen Properties LLP/UMC ArchitectsCGi of the warehouses on the hotel site. Credit: Regen Properties LLP/UMC Architects

During the meeting, some councillors questioned whether approving the development would pre-empt the completion of their local plan. Members were assured that if developers wanted to extend into the previously unused green space this would still have to happen through the local plan process.

Officers also confirmed details about parking for staff would also be finalised and subject to approval at a later stage, after concerns were raised about the accessibility of the site.

Officers recommended the scheme for approval, concluding the scheme would "clearly outweigh" any potential harm.

Watford Observer: CGI of the proposed scheme. Credit: Credit: Regen Properties LLP/UMC ArchitectsCGI of the proposed scheme. Credit: Credit: Regen Properties LLP/UMC Architects

Councillors voted through the plans by 7-4, which will see the developers given outline planning permission, although the Secretary of State will be able to call-in the application as a development on the green belt.

The committee agreed that development should not begin until the hotel is no longer needed by the Home Office.