Public inquiry into planning row over hotel extension

Work on the new extension at Casa, Brighouse
Work on the new extension at Casa, Brighouse

A dispute between a Brighouse hotel and restaurant’s extension and officials from Calderdale Council will come to a head during a four-day public inquiry which will decide its future.

An appeal was lodged by Castelite Limited over the council’s decision to reject the revised extension plans at the Casa Hotel on Elland Road, Brighouse, and an enforcement notice to remove the building.

An inquiry will now be conducted by inspector Mr A Ghafoor and will be held at Halifax Town Hall on June 2, starting at 10am. In a pre-enquiry statement submitted by Castelite Limited, the company says it will demonstrate that the council was aware of the revised plans. It says: “The 2009 approval was for a two storey extension to the side of the existing building, whereas the plans subject of the appeal are for a three storey extension covering a greater area of floor space.

“It is submitted that the council, through its officers and from discussions which had taken place prior to the extension works commencing, was well aware of the updated plans.

“Witnesses on behalf of the appellant will address this point in evidence to the inquiry.”

Castelite Limited also stated that if the enforcement notice was upheld, it is unclear what steps would need to be taken to remove the extension.

In the statement it said: “The appellant submits that it is unnecessary and inappropriate to require the complete removal of the extension.

“In the event that the notice is upheld, the requirements of the notice should be varied to revert back to the 2009 approval. It is submitted that the act of the potential disruption required by the terms of the notice are such as to outweigh any perceived adverse effects in the planning balance of the retention of the extension.”

The company also states that the time to comply with the enforcement notice is too short. At its very lowest end, to demolish the entire three storey extension would take a minimum of nine months.

Casa currently employs 47 people. But group manager Sam Holmes said that if the expansion of the business could be secured, this number could rise to 80.

Calderdale Council has outlined its argument ahead of the inquiry.

In its report, it says: “The council will demonstrate that the claimed benefits of the appeal proposals, together with any potential disruption resulting from the unauthorised building being removed and the land being reinstated to its previous form, cannot outweigh the harm caused by the appeal proposals. The planning balance falls firmly against allowing the appeals.”