Dispute over hotel scheme

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A BRIGHOUSE hotel has been ordered to remove an unauthorised outdoor drinking area at the back of the building.

A BRIGHOUSE hotel has been ordered to remove an unauthorised outdoor drinking area at the back of the building.

The Casa Hotel, on Elland Road, had developed an outside area on what used to be ground that sloped downwards towards the lake and was raised to create a horizontal surface with a retaining wall of gabion baskets.

Calderdale Council has been in dispute about whether the development contravened Government policy for building on land in Green Belt.

An appeal made by owner Jack McDaid has been rejected by planning inspector Mike Croft.

According to Mr Croft the change in land form cannot properly be construed in itself as a change to openness but in this case the land form change has qualified structural engineers and are safe to be retained. He also had doubts about the safety of the development.

“I saw for myself that the wall appears to be bulging at several points at its lower levels where it is touching the Water Ski Club’s palisade fence.

“The appellant had provided no reassurance that this bulging process has ceased, and I therefore share the doubts that have been expressed about structural stability.

“That is a matter to which I give very considerable weight because of the potential for damage and personal injury.

“That is supported in turn by concerns about possible pollution that arise from the absence of information about the nature of the material backfilled behind the wall.

“I am satisfied that the material considerations that weigh in favour of the appeal project do not clearly outweigh the harm factors that I refer to.

“Bearing in mind the inappropriateness of the development in principal it is clear to me, in fact, that the total harm clearly outweighs the benefits.”

Mr McDaid argued that the development does not need to be removed entirely to satisfy Green Belt policy and the extent of the raised and levelled area and the gabion baskets could be reduced as an alternative, with mitigating landscaping.

However, the planning inspector said he had not seen a scheme for this and if there was he did not believe the changes would resolve the problems.

The Casa has also been ordered to demolish a building measuring 6.2m by 4.6m and used for storage as it also inappropriate in terms of Green Belt policy.

The inspector said the building did not integrate with the surrounding green belt land.”