Agenda item

Planning application - MC/19/2566 - 25 - 33 Corporation Street, Rochester ME1 1ND

Rochester West


Proposal for demolition of existing disused petrol filling station, part demolition of existing wall and the construction of a 100 bedroom hotel with basement to provide plant accommodation, ground floor to provide restaurant cafe, retail/workspace, reception, back of house, WC's, plant area/risers, staff store.


Levels 1 to 3 and 4 to provide hotel bedrooms with associated storage plant area and risers with level five providing a further four Hotel bedrooms, staff store, WC's, roof level restaurant/bar with external terrace/viewing platform.


Provision of associated service lane and areas.





The Head of Planning outlined the planning application in detail and informed the Committee of the extensive work undertaken by officers in recent years with various architects to ensure that the development of a hotel on this site would have full regard and be sympathetic to its historic location and surroundings.


He drew attention to the supplementary agenda advice sheet and suggested that if the Committee was minded to approve the application, proposed condition 9 be deleted and replaced with new conditions 9 and 10 and that the remaining conditions be renumbered. In addition, existing no.s 14 and 20 required replacement, details of which were also set out on the supplementary agenda advice sheet.


In addition, the Head of Planning drew attention to one additional letter of representation received since despatch of the agenda which was summarised on the supplementary agenda advice sheet.


The Head of Planning referred to various viewpoints of historic Rochester and in particular the current unsightly views including a car wash facility which immediately faced individuals when departing from Rochester train station.


He also referred to the desire to improve connectivity from the train station to the historic High Street in addition to providing a quality hotel which would encourage visitors to stay in Rochester for longer than a day.


Attention was drawn to the views of Historic England, and it was noted that whilst Historic England still considered that there would be a level of harm arising from this development, such harm was considered to be less than substantial and an improvement on the original plans which had previously been approved.


The Head of Planning also drew attention to a correction to the report in paragraph 4 on page 57 relating to the assessment of harm to clarify exactly how harm should properly be assessed.


Other issues highlighted by the Head of Planning as part of his presentation included:


·         the loss of and retention of a number of trees as a result of the development;

·         the proposal to provide a roof top bar/restaurant at the hotel;

·         the importance of lighting and building materials;

·         that there will be no parking provision at the hotel to take account of its central location in Rochester, its close proximity to the train station and public car parks;

·         the requirement for the applicant to provide a travel plan for staff and visitors;

·         the benefits to the economy of the increase in visitors to Medway; and

·         the creation of employment opportunities during construction and when the hotel is operational.


With the agreement of the Committee, Councillor Paterson addressed the Committee as Ward Councillor and raised the following issues:


·         There are already two hotels in close proximity to the application site and enquiries indicated that there were a number of vacant rooms available on 5 February. Therefore, there was no justified need for another hotel.

·         The development of the hotel would provide a loss of amenity to local residents.

·         Riverside multi-storey car park already gets full and if the hotel has no on site parking provision this will impact upon commuters use of the multi storey car park.

·         The proposed hotel is overbearing in size, bulk and scale.

·         Whilst the view of Rochester from the roof terrace of the hotel has been promoted as a benefit, it is likely that this view will only be available to residents of the hotel and will therefore be a private view for paying customers.

·         There is no need for another bar facility in Rochester

·         The hotel will spoil the view of historic Rochester from the train.

·         The unique character of Rochester should be preserved.


The Committee discussed the planning application in details noting the presentation from the Head of Planning and the points raised by the Ward Councillor.


Concern was expressed as to the impact that the hotel would have upon the significant heritage assets in Rochester and the design of the hotel but it was noted that planning permission had already been granted for a five-storey hotel at this location in 2009 and 2012. Since then, much work had been undertaken with the current architects to design a scheme that would be appropriate to the historic location and surroundings and to preserve the view of the Cathedral from Corporation Street.


The Committee discussed a number of issues including the benefits of a hotel that would encourage tourists and the business sector to Rochester, the requirement for use of appropriate materials, the width of the pavement in Corporation Street and the proposed transport/travel plan.


Arising from these discussions, the Senior Urban Design Officer advised that although the artist impressions of the proposed hotel showed trees outside the hotel in Corporation Street, unfortunately there would not be sufficient depth of area for there to be provision of trees at the hotel frontage.




Approved subject to:


a)            The applicant entering into a Section 106 agreement to secure:


i)    A contribution of £50,000 towards the car parking improvements in Rochester, including the provision of electric charging points in public car parks or other appropriate air quality mitigation measures;


ii)  A contribution of £24,556 towards mitigation measures in the Special Protection Areas.


b)            Conditions 1 – 8 as set out in the report, new conditions 9 and 10 as set out below, existing conditions numbered 10 – 24 being renumbered 11 – 25 with existing conditions 14 and 20 being replaced and re-numbered as follows, all for the reasons stated in the report:


9.         No development shall take place until the applicant, or their agents or successors in title, has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological work in accordance with a written specification and timetable which has been submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: Required before commencement of development to avoid any irreversible detrimental impact on any archaeological interest and in accordance with Policy BNE21 of the Local Plan 2003.


10.       No development shall take place until details of foundations designs and any other proposals involving below ground excavation have been submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.


Reason: Required before commencement of development to avoid any irreversible detrimental impact on any archaeological interest and in accordance with Policy BNE21 of the Local Plan 2003.


15        No development shall take place until mechanical and electrical solutions have been developed in detail, submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority for the location, size, type and characteristics of plant to be used to environmentally control the building. All service meter cupboards must be internal unless demonstrated otherwise.  The development shall be implemented in accordance with the approved details prior to the first use of the development herein approved and shall be retained thereafter.


Reason:  Required before commencement of the development due to the location of the plant below ground level and to ensure that the appearance of the development is satisfactory and without prejudice to conditions of visual amenity and the character and appearance of development at a significant location within the Conservation Area, and in accordance with Policies BNE1 and BNE14 of the Medway Local Plan 2003.



21.       No development shall take place above slab level until a long-term Landscape Management and Maintenance Plan has been submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority. Upon completion of the development the site shall be maintained in accordance with the approved Management and Maintenance Plan herein approved.


Reason: To ensure the site is maintained in a manner that retains a satisfactory external appearance and in accordance with Policies BNE1 and BNE6 of the Medway Local Plan 2003.

Supporting documents: