PERMISSION for a 64-bed hotel at the old city centre DVLA building has been granted by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee.
Norroy house, which also used to be the benefits office, will be converted into a hotel by applicant, Roomzzz Aparthotels, after the committee voted unanimously to pass the plans.
Officers had recommended approval for the plans despite the loss of office space as the site had been largely empty for a number of years.
Concerns had been raised by city centre councillor Sam Dixon, who was worried about the increased traffic to the site on the already-narrow Nuns Road and the proposal to build a roof terrace on top of the building.
Speaking at the meeting, she told the committee: “I have no affection for this building. In general I welcome the investment in this eyesore.
“My first concern, however, is about the extra floor on an already tall and overbearing building.
“My worry is it would be highly visible from the west of the city.
“We have just managed to remove one eyesore with the destruction of Commerce House.
“I hope you will refuse this application because the extra floor will impact negatively and set a precedent for a creeping increase in the city’s buildings height.
“Secondly the junction is awful already and on a particularly narrow part of Nuns Road which can cause tailbacks when cars are queueing to get into the site.
“The present access is inadequate and needs more thought through consideration.”
Nick Howard, planning and building control officer, said the rooftop terrace was set back from the edge of the building so would barely be visible from ground level.
Cllr John Grimshaw, who moved approval for the scheme, said: “I used the building to tax motor cars and there were cars coming and going all the time so I can’t see how the proposed use will be any worse than in the past.
“The scheme will put the site to further good use.
“With regard to the rooftop extension that will be set back and you are going to see very much of it at all.”
See full story in the Chester Leader