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Plans for six-storey hotel in Corporation Street, Rochester

By Jade Edwards

The design of a proposed six-storey hotel in Rochester has been labelled an “eye sore” with the “architectural elegance of a row of breeze blocks.”

A developer wants to knock down a disused petrol station and car wash in Corporation Street, opposite Rochester Railway Station, and replace it with a 140-bed three-star hotel.

But the plans have prompted an angry reaction from local residents.

What the proposed hotel could look like. Pic MWC and MDS Architects

What the proposed hotel could look like. Pic: MWC and MDS Architects

Alan Moss, chairman of the City of Rochester Society, said: “I will be the first to say that the site is an eyesore and something needs to be done but a hotel of that size and bulk in the heart of historic Rochester, where most of the buildings are low-level, is out of keeping with its surroundings.

“The bulk of the building is going to be six storeys and ut will dominate the view from the new railway station.

“It’s going to be an eyesore.

“I know a lot of people are angry about it.”

The application to Medway Council states there will be no car parking at the hotel but the developer argues there is “adequate” car and coach parking in Rochester. But many residents disagree and Mr Moss said current car parks are already under strain.

The view from Rochester High Street, if the plans are approved. Pic MWC and MDS Architects

The view from Rochester High Street, if the plans are approved. Pic: MWC and MDS Architects

Edward Bower, from Borstal, said: “The claim that there is ‘adequate car and coach parking’ in Rochester is completely erroneous.

“If the hotel successfully fills all its rooms, car drivers it will use approximately 25% of the spaces needed by the citizens of Rochester.

“Drivers are frequently desperately trying to find spaces as they try and negotiate the one way systems.”

Mr Bower added: “If the hotel, which has the architectural elegance of a row of breeze blocks, is to be built then why not on the derelict Wingate site where it will have the necessary parking space and not blight historic Rochester.”

So far 38 people have objected to the plans. Concerns include the lack of parking, the hotel being too high and that the building will be out of character for the area.

According to the application, hotel management company Lester Hotels has confirmed their interest in taking out a long lease of a three-star premium hotel. The company own Ramada hotels in Hatfield, London and Leicester.

Planning permission was granted for a five-storey hotel, with a cafe and restaurant, in March 2012. The new proposal is seeking permission for a six-storey hotel.

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