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Hotel's Green Belt 'studio' approved

A PRESTIGIOUS Hotel has received planning permission to put up a portable building on Green Belt land.

Management of Sopwell House Hotel in Cottonmill Lane say the temporary building which will be placed within its luxurious grounds will be used as an aerobic/dance studio and provide users with extra leisure facilities.

The hotel, which is often used by the England football team, initially wanted permission to have the building for the next five years. But at a meeting of the District Council planning committee on Monday, members set a three-year limit by which time an application must be made for a more permanent extension.

Speaking at the meeting, district councillor Gordon Myland said: "A temporary building is not ideal, but it will not be seen from anywhere other than the hotel car park. However, I hope this is just temporary until an application for a more suitable building is made."

Fellow councillor Geoff Harrison added: "I don't know why such a prestigious hotel would want a portable building which will be an eyesore when it could just go for something which it wants straight away?"

Council officers had initially recommended refusal of the application on the grounds it was an unacceptable development within the Green Belt. However, councillors went against the recommendation and granted approval of the portable building claiming it was a modest extension which would not disturb the openness of the Green Belt.

Sopwell House Hotel proprietor Abraham Bejerano said: "This is a temporary solution during which time a suitable application can be made for a more permanent building. We need to keep up with our customers needs and demands.

"This is a response to the needs of our members who want to exercise in appropriate facilities."

3:34pm Tuesday 9th August 2005

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