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Thames Rivierra Hotel plans for flats refused by councillors

Plans to turn the Thames Riviera Hotel into flats have been refused by councillors.

The application was discussed for just over an hour at a Development Management Panel meeting in Maidenhead Town Hall on Wednesday, September 26.

It was submitted by Arena Racing Company/Galleon Hotels, who planned to convert the hotel into 15 apartments, and demolish an annex to build 11 more.

Five members of the public spoke in objection to the plans and one person spoke in favour.

Gurch Singh, a Conservative candidate for May’s local election in the new St Mary’s ward, was one of the objectors having set up a ‘Save the Thames Riviera Hotel’ Facebook page a week prior to the meeting.

Mr Singh garnered support from 781 people for his campaign and said the development would have been ‘a quick win for the developer but a huge loss for the community’.

Matthew Pardoe spoke for the development. He said: “The alterations are sympathetic to the host building and its retention within its surroundings, including the Grade I-listed bridge.”

He added: “The scheme does not represent over-development and respects the amenity of adjoining residents.”

Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray) stated that that the Royal Borough’s conservation team did not support the application.

He said: “This building, the bridge, the whole settings, gives a sense of place and identity and that would be lost if it were developed into just another block of 26 rather architecturally uninteresting flats.”

Cllr Philip Love (Con, Belmont) said it was ‘one of the closest calls I’ve had to make’ but ultimately agreed with Cllr Walters’ arguments.

He said: “The use of aluminium, timber, painted brick, would be a baleful addition to the streetscape and river frontage and could not be expected to preserve the character of the conservation area.”

In a statement after the meeting, group operations director Neil Wheeler said: “We, at Galleon Hotels, are of course disappointed at the decision and are waiting for the final decision notice to be received from the panel for review. We are keeping our options open as to our next steps.”

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