A NEW 81-bedroom hotel on the site of Stratford’s Picturehouse cinema has been approved by Stratford District Council.
The decision was rubber stamped by planners last Friday and adds to the growing uncertainty over the long-term future of the Picturehouse.
The hotel will house a restaurant area for guests only and would include a glazed top floor and two ‘green walls’ to break up what would otherwise be large expanses of brickwork.
Applicant Igor Kolodotschko, who owns the Picturehouse building, said: “I’m pleased that it’s gone through, I think it will be a good thing for Stratford, the town is in need of another 1,000 bedrooms for overnight accommodation, so this will certainly help.
“We are looking into launching it as a Travelodge Plus, which is a slightly more boutique hotel, but certainly affordable.
“It’s too early to speculate about when we might start work, we’re still in negotiations with Picturehouse and with various parties who may be involved in the project. I would like to see work start before the end of the year, but it’s all still up in the air.”
The application stated that the landowner’s reason for replacing the Picturehouse centred on the assertion that the cinema was no longer viable with the arrival of the Everyman Cinema at Bell Court.
When approached by the Herald Picturehouse reiterated its existing statement: “The Picturehouse lease will expire in Sep 2020.
“We will consider all options and continue discussions with our landlord until that time. As yet, no decisions have been made on whether to renew or relinquish the lease.”
There were 14 objections to the application with concerns expressed about the character and design of the building, an overdevelopment of the site, its impact of neighbouring listed buildings, insufficient parking and congestion.
The overlooking of other properties and disruption that to neighbours during construction were also mentioned.
Windsor Street resident Liz Willetts, said: “I think the Picturehouse is quite a nice looking 1930s art deco style building, I would much prefer them to do something with that then demolish it.
“I’m not against change from time to time, but the construction of this hotel will be incredibly invasive and disruptive to residents nearby, there will be so much noise, dust and construction traffic.
“It’s bound to hold up traffic which will really affect the air quality, I work from home so there isn’t any way I can escape all this.
“I’m very disappointed that this application has been approved and I’m not too keen on the idea of 40 hotel rooms overlooking my windows.”
However the planning officer’s report concluded that the proposed building was no more imposing on properties opposite the site on Windsor Street then the existing Picturehouse.
It noted that the change of use to a hotel would be in keeping with the existing commercial character of the street and concludes that the proposal would not result in substantial harm to nearby residents.