Northampton hotel boss wins battle to keep 'industrial' roof extension and outdoor barbecue area

The extension to the Westone Manor Hotel was labelled an 'industrial eyesore' by nearby residents in 2018.
The extension to the Westone Manor Hotel was labelled an 'industrial eyesore' by nearby residents in 2018.

Hotel owners who were ordered to take down a roof extension labelled an 'industrial eyesore' and remove a new timber barbecue area have won their battle to keep both in place.

The bosses of Westone Manor Hotel were given planning permission to extend the north wing of the former stately home in 2017 by a single floor.

Residents gathered 150 names on a petition to see the extension brought down, including Dave and Sue Peck, above.

Residents gathered 150 names on a petition to see the extension brought down, including Dave and Sue Peck, above.

But the resulting metallic looking extension gave the appearance of being two storeys high and was deemed out of keeping with the rest of the building - parts of which date back to 1914.

Nearby residents signed a 150-name petition against the extension and labelled it an 'industrial eyesore' last year - prompting the council to order hotel owner Harry Sookun to take the extension down.

Shortly afterwards, he was also ordered to submit a retrospective application for a 61 square metre, timber-clad barbecue shelter in the grounds, which was built without planning permission.

But both plans have now been given the go-ahead by the borough council on appeal, providing Mr Sookun makes alterations to the materials used.

The council says the metal extension is screened by surrounding fir trees.

The council says the metal extension is screened by surrounding fir trees.

The authority said a line of fir trees bordering the hotel car park would continue to act as a sufficient screen to reduce the visual impact of the extension.

"The development is not unduly harmful to the living conditions of the occupiers of the adjoining properties in terms of overbearing impacts, overlooking, loss of privacy or visual intrusion," reads the appeal decision.

However, Mr Sookun has agreed to 'soften' the appearance of the metal cladding by amending the external materials to the rear of the building.

"The latest addition of a barbecue shelter, ‘The Manor BBQ’, in the ground is the natural progression and the way forward." said Mr Sookun, who has invested more than £1 million into the site in Fir Tree Walk since 2013.

The outdoor barbecue area was originally built without planning permission.

The outdoor barbecue area was originally built without planning permission.

"It is opening on 31st March, 2019, to provide alfresco grill dining, giving a wide array of opportunities to the hotel’s guests and the community at large."

The hotel is also offering a half-price menu on the opening day of the barbecue area.

Mr Sookun said he now wanted to work 'in harmony' with residents in the surrounding streets, many of whom had lodged complaints about the north wing extension.

"The hotel management strongly feels that the hotel is in the community for the community," he said.

"The door is always open to welcome everybody whether you want a quick bite, a quiet dinner or weekend barbecue or a celebratory meal."