Green light for Stansted hotel conversion

DESPITE protests from a resident who lives only 200 yards away, a hotel and restaurant project has been given the go ahead.

Uttlesford District Council agreed permission for a 10-bed hotel and a restaurant on Silver Street in the historic heart of Stansted Mountfitchet on Tuesday.

The planning authority also agreed to drop any bans on smoking outside and extended drinking hours from 9pm to 11pm because they felt that “such conditions could not be enforced.”

Chapel Hill resident Ray Woodcock lives yards away from the site and questioned the need for a hotel and restaurant in the first place.

He told the council: “I object to this plan. There is totally inadequate parking, no area for people to be picked up or dropped off, and there are already 20 restaurants, takeaways, cafes and bars in the village.”

Councillors aired concerns on access issues including one potentially dangerous component which Cllr Janice Loughlin describes as an “accident waiting to happen.”

She said: “Access could be a total nightmare and I doubt people will park at the other end of town and walk up Chapel Hill – it is about half a mile.

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“I really do have a problem with this application because cars getting onto the site will be sticking out into the road. That junction is already horrendous.”

However the majority of councillors agreed with the notion that the building owners, local residents Karl and Sarah Foster, have covered all the bases and they allowed the project to proceed.

It will no doubt delight the couple as they originally had plans thrown out in May 2010 and had been working very hard and great cost to make sure it was right this time around.

The couples aim is to now turn the current timber-framed properties into a complex with 10 luxury en-suite rooms, a bar, a lounge and a restaurant, complete with outdoor dining space.

Mrs Foster said: “They are run-down buildings but with enormous character which really mean something to Stansted. There is a real buzz in the village about what we are trying to achieve.”

Cllr Catherine Dean voted for the plans and said: “I like the idea of a hotel and restaurant there. The building will look nice and I think very attractive.”

One proviso the council did add was that the barrier which controls access to the car park at the rear should be useable for staff, customers and guests 24 hours a day.