Plans to demolish the Hotel Savoy and replace it with 53 “environmentally-conscious family townhouses” were unanimously rejected yesterday after concerns over the "health and wellbeing of the neighbours".
The Planning Committee – a panel of politicians – agreed that the St. Helier development would have reduced the amount of sunlight getting to neighbouring properties.
The owners of the Savoy Hotel, which first opened in 1968, had wanted to knock down the existing Victorian building and build “environmentally-conscious family townhouses”.
The plans, lodged by hotel director Roberto Lora, involved replacing the hotel with a mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments.
Pictured: An aerial view of the proposed development.
Unveiling the first iteration of the plans in June 2021, Mr Lora said the hotel had been “fighting a losing battle” to stay relevant to the ever-changing tourism market.
“Our property would be ideal for new ecological family housing built for Islanders wanting a quality residence that sets a new bar with its eco credentials."
He added: “We’re compassionate about the surroundings in terms of storey heights and screening, minimising traffic impacts and focusing on general well-being of the population. This is a genuine attempt to proactively move toward the zero carbon goals the island is striving for.”
However, a neighbour of the Hotel Savoy told the Planning Committee yesterday that if the development went ahead, it would "destroy" the enjoyment of her garden.
She added that the proposed development would create a "dark and oppressive" atmosphere over her property.
Committee member Deputy Andy Howell said: "My major concern is the health and wellbeing of the neighbours."
Deciding on the application, committee chair Deputy Steve Luce also highlighted inconsistencies between the drawings and details found within the application.
Similarly, Deputy Alex Curtis added that "we need to be clear on what we are approving".
Pictured: The Savoy first became a hotel in 1968.
Despite rejecting the application, committee member Deputy Tom Coles said that the proposal’s design "sets it apart from the bland setting in the area".
Mr Lora told the committee that this application was his "exit strategy" in order to leave the hotel industry.
"I’ve been messed around by the Planning Department, [we are trying] to build houses that Jersey needs," said Mr Lora.
The director of architecture firm PF+A planning, Hamish Hargreaves, said that the plans were a "very favourable opportunity" to bring families to St. Helier.
He added that not all proposed properties were one- and two-bedroom homes.
Deputies Luce, Curtis, Coles, Mary Le Hegarat, Andy Howell and Constable Richard Honeycombe all voted against the application.
Speaking after the decision, Mr Lora described the rejection as a "big loss for the island" as well as his family.
He explained that Jersey is "missing out on family homes", which the proposed hotel development would have created, adding that this rejection may discourage other developers from proposing similar schemes for family homes in the future.
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