The Savoy's Director is fighting back against the rejection of his plans to demolish the hotel and replace it with 53 'eco-townhouses' – alleging that the decision was "unsound" because the Planning Committee was shown "incorrect material, which was potentially misleading".
Submitted earlier this month, Roberto Lora's appeal outlines why he disagrees with the eight reasons provided by the Planning Committee for the plans' rejection.
Mr Lora's original plans for the Hotel Savoy makeover included a mix of a mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments – which the Hotel Director previously said “underpin the family orientated vision of the scheme”.
But those proposals were unanimously rejected amid concerns over the impact on neighbouring properties – the conclusion to a saga involving mixed messages from planning officers and a "farcical scene" as the proposals were presented to the Planning Committee at a meeting last month, according to Mr Lora.
Mr Lora claimed that “the case officer misrepresented our scheme and used outdated slides that included a swimming pool, which was no longer part of our application”.
Deciding on the application, Planning Committee chair Deputy Steve Luce acknowledged the inconsistencies between the drawings and details found within the application whilst Deputy Alex Curtis added that "we need to be clear on what we are approving".
Pictured: An aerial view of the proposed Hotel Savoy development.
Explaining his decision to appeal the rejection, Mr Lora said that he believed that "most of the reasons [for the plan's rejection] could be dismissed easily" with all the correct information.
"Obviously some of the reasons are up for debate," he said. "But some are completely factually wrong so easy to dismiss."
The Hotel Director added that it is "normal in built up areas to have some level of compromise", but said that he maintains the view that his plans are a "great benefit to the island" and "overall for the public good".
Mr Lora’s criticism of Planning follows a damning independent report on the "underperforming" the department, which condemned its "unfit for purpose" processes and "severely dysfunctional IT systems" and called for "radical improvements".
In his review, Jim McKinnon CBE – a former Chief Planner to the Scottish Government – found that the processes seeking planning permission are "seriously dysfunctional" and require "radical improvements".
Pictured: Following Mr McKinnon's review, Environment Minister Jonathon Renouf admitted that the Planning Department was "falling short".
He added that "far too much is expected of young and inexperienced staff lacking the technical knowledge to carry out work effectively" in the department.
Following the review, the Environment Minister admitted that the department was "falling short", and pledged to take action to address the problems identified by Mr McKinnon.
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