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Plans submitted for Padworth hotel demolition

Application is to develop housing on Comfort Inn site, but owners saying they are just investigating opportunities

THE future of a Padworth hotel could be in jeopardy after a plans to demolish the building were submitted to West Berkshire Council, although its owners say they are just investigating future opportunities for the site.

SKC Group, who run the Comfort Inn in Bath Road, Padworth, as a franchise, have submitted a planning application to demolish the hotel, change the use of the site and build affordable housing on land to the south west of the building.

If successful, between nine and twelve one to three bedroom flats with terraces could be built next to the two-storey, 33-room hotel, which includes a restaurant and conference rooms.

Sales and operation director for SKC Group, Andrew Plimmer, said: “There is one planning application consisting of two parts. One is to build on the piece of scrubland beside the hotel. The other application may provide an opportunity to change the use of business, if desired, in the future.

“There is the possibility of building social housing on the scrubland which is derelict at the moment. This might be between nine and twelve properties depending on planning permission, costs and architectural considerations and obviously this has the potential to create local employment should we decide to proceed.

“There are no immediate plans to demolish the hotel or make people redundant. We're simply investigating opportunities for the future that may or may not change the use of the business at some point.”

Padworth Parish Council chairman Keith Gilbert, who has discussed the plans with the parish council, said: “I think this is a purely commercial decision. There is a Holiday Inn up the road.

“The thing that concerns me the most is the architecture. For a start they are going to put wood cladding on the outside with shutters and large windows but there isn't enough detail about the designs. It might look nice if it's done properly.

“The real question is whether the affordable housing will go to those that have origins in Padworth.”

A decision, which is likely to be subject to a section 106 (developers' financial contributions) agreement, is due to be taken by West Berkshire Council planning department by May 17.

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