12th Dec, 2019

UPDATED: Separate hotel bid next to Ricoh Arena refused by Coventry council - despite support for Wasps' hotel plan

John Carlon 3rd Dec, 2019 Updated: 4th Dec, 2019

A BID to turn a scrapyard into a boutique hotel next to the Ricoh Arena has been rejected by Coventry City Council planning officers.

It is despite the council last year granting a long lease and licence for stadium owners Wasps to build a hotel on car park C of the Ricoh Arena, subject to planning permission which had been expected by last month.

A McDonalds drive-thru was also proposed for the site in Judds Lane.

It has emerged the council quietly refused the Judds Lane application last week on the stated grounds that it would create too much traffic congestion on matchdays, and draw trade away from the city centre.

Cryfield Investments, a city-based small company whose listed director Verender Singh Badial, hoped to build a conference centre, restaurant and a 120-bed hotel on the site of Judds Lane car breakers’ yard.

The decision to reject the application was made in private by the council’s head of planning, Tracy Miller, under so-called ‘delegated powers’, rather than being allowed to go before councillors on the planning committee for public scrutiny in a public hearing.

Ms Miller, in issuing her refusal, also claimed the applicant had not proved a similar development could not take place on land nearer the city centre, in line with policies.

She also suggested the hotel and food outlet would draw trade away from the city centre.

International hotel chain Marriott had supported the premise of a new hotel near the Ricoh, suggesting its express hotel brand Moxy could take on the letting.

Cryfield had suggested the hotel would be ready for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, when the Ricoh will host rugby sevens, judo and wrestling.

Ms Miller also said the council was not satisfied the development would not adversely impact on nearby businesses.

It remains to be seen whether the same criteria on which the Judds Lane hotel application has been refused will apply to Wasps Holding Limited, should it still press ahead with a delayed hotel planning application on car park C, situated opposite the A444 from the stadium.

There is widespread public concern of favourable treatment of Wasps by Coventry City Council since it sold the Ricoh Arena, Coventry City Football Club’s rented home, to then London Wasps on a massively extended 250-year lease in 2014.

The council insists planning applications have to be dealt with in a ‘quasi judicial’ manner based solely on ‘material planning considerations’, without political interference by the council itself.

We are putting questions to the city council and Wasps.

UPDATE:

A Coventry City Council spokesman has responded to us, stating: “The submission of the planning application for Car Park C has been delayed until the New Year.

“In the meantime the licence under which Wasps use Car Park C will continue on the same terms, and the Council will continue to benefit from a share of the income generated.”

It had previously been reported that the licence would expire last month in the absence of a planning application.

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