Businessman hopeful over appeal for hotel on Horse and Groom site

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 October 2013 | UPDATED: 10:00 10 October 2013

Artist's impression of the hotel proposed for the Horse and Groom site on the A505

Artist's impression of the hotel proposed for the Horse and Groom site on the A505

Archant

A businessman who has fought a seven-year battle to build a hotel near Royston hopes to finally get planning permission when his appeal is heard today.

Stewart Findlay is seeking permission to knock-down the derelict Horse and Groom pub, near the A505, and turn it into a 70-bedroom budget hotel.

Despite having wide-spread local support, his plans have been repeatedly rejected by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planners.

Now Mr Findlay’s firm, The Findlay Duthie partnership, has made an appeal to the planning inspectorate, and his case is being heard today, Thursday, at the district council’s offices in Cambourne.

He said: “We’ve had three different applications turned down by the council, which is why we’ve decided to appeal now.

“We’ve been in discussions with several hotel chains who are interested, and have the backing of Ibis for this latest plan.

“A budget hotel is something which is desperately needed in Royston. Firms in the town send up to 900 people a year to hotels in Cambridge, and it seems ridiculous that there isn’t anything near by.

“It’s been seven years that we’ve been trying to get this thing built, but we’ve had positive discussions with the planning officers recently and we’re hopeful the appeal will be successful.”

Steeple Morden Parish Council has voiced its approval of the plan, as has Royston’s Chamber of Commerce. Representatives of the Chamber will be attending the appeal in support of Mr Findley. Royston Town Council’s planning committee is also fully behind the proposals.

Cllr F John Smith said: “The fact that the Royston Chamber of Commerce would like to see it built shows that there is demand there.

“We should reiterate our support for this plan.”

When the scheme was last rejected, in November 2012, Cllr Nick Wright, the district council’s cabinet member described it as “too large”.

He said: “the proposals put forward to committee were for a much bigger low budget hotel that was simply too large.

“We have no objection to a hotel being built there, but plans should be in keeping with the location.”

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