Petition launched to help save much-loved former hotel site in Kenilworth

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A planning application to turn the site into housing was rejected in rejected in December 2023.

A petition has been launched to help save a former hotel site in Kenilworth.

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Plans to demolish former Kenilworth hotel to make way for 55 homes rejected by ...

Matt Shepherd set up the petition in December 2023 – after a planning application that would see the site turned into 55 homes was thrown out by councillors.

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The former Woodside Hotel in Kenilworth. Photo suppliedThe former Woodside Hotel in Kenilworth. Photo supplied
The former Woodside Hotel in Kenilworth. Photo supplied

Prior to the meeting planning officers had recommended for the plans for approval, despite 25 objections from the public, as well as objections from Sir Jeremy Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam and Kenilworth Town Council.

However, the housing plans were rejected “on the grounds that the sustainability of the proposed dwellings did not comply with the Net Zero DPD which will be adopted imminently”.

The hotel and conference centre had fallen into disuse since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in March 2020 and during that time, the business went into administration and a potential operator to continue the business could not be found.

The site is made up of the original house known as ‘Woodside’ (originally ‘Glass House’), a historic stables range and a number of later 20th century additions.

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Despite being a relatively new resident to the town, Matt said he was keen to raise awareness to try and save the building.

Matt said: “I'm pretty new to Kenilworth, I’ve just started a family here and we’re already quite attached to the community.

"We've stumbled upon some really great walks around the rear of the Woodside Hotel, and a bunch of our friends live in the new development that looks right onto it.

“Myself, my family and my friends are all fascinated by the building, and when we heard they might tear it down, it kind of hit us all hard.

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"I did as much research as I could and dug into its history, and connected with ex-managers, staff, and even couples who tied the knot there.

"It turns out, there's a ton of special memories tied to the place and a whole community that would be heartbroken to see it go.

"As newcomers, we felt compelled to make a difference, so, we decided to kick off the petition which currently has 188 signatures.”

Several people who have signed the petition also submitted comments pushing for the building to be preserved.

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One person said: “I think the council has a responsibility to preserve our heritage, which they seem to do only on an optional basis.

"Also, if they were to follow a truly green agenda they would prioritise reuse and refurbishment of existing buildings rather than allowing their demolition.”

Another added: “Because we need these historic buildings saving before we become irreversibly devoid of decent architecture.”

During Matt’s research into the property he found that the building dates back to around 1857 when it was known as the Glass House before being renamed Woodside in 1873 by surgeon William Sands Cox.

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He also said that he found the building had connections to James Randles, a merchant from South Africa, and later the Reverend Henry Cunliffe, who moved in after marrying Lady Alexandrina Victoria Murray, a friend of the Royal Family.

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