Warwick residents slam decision to approve Warwick Castle's hotel plans

Residents in Warwick have slammed the decision to approve plans for a hotel at Warwick Castle.

The plans were granted planning permission at Warwick District Council’s planning committee meeting on May 4. During the meeting some councillors raised concerns about the plans and questioning what benefit the development would bring to the town.

The application for a 60-bed hotel, extension to an existing restaurant, a play area and an elevated walkway were approved by eight votes to two following a lengthy debate.

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Warwick Castle gets go ahead for its controversial plans to build a hotel
Warwick Castle. Photo by Mike Baker

Prior to the meeting, there were more than 90 objections to the plans and now a week on, some residents have slammed the planning decision.

Dr James Mackay, who is chair of the Warwick Society, spoke at the meeting and criticised the decision.

He said: “The castle and its park are some of the most highly protected historic and beautiful landscapes in England.

"The fact that their care and preservation for future generations is in the hands of current local councillors with local outlooks is itself a failing of the planning system.

"The district council planning committee proved itself almost impossible in understanding the significance of these buildings and was concerned about trivial, minor issues on the fringe of the debate – with one exception.

"The committee decided that the apparent commercial interest of the town was more important than this landscape and setting of the castle and approved the application.

"There is no appeal against planning approval but we are considering what other options might be available to us.”

Dr Veronica Hyland, who also spoke at the planning meeting, said: “I am vehemently opposed to the development at Warwick Castle.

"Over the last few years I have spoken out against the glamping and the lodges – all were granted.

"Now permission has been granted for a hotel.

"Our castle is a scheduled ancient monument. It is a treasure set in Capability Brown gardens and parkland and Warwick Castle Park. All of these are Grade I Listed.

“Our castle is a national treasure. Neither the Tower of London nor Windsor Castle has greater heritage significance.

“How dare the planner suggest that this is to be built on a brownfield site, which it certainly is not and it tries to detract from its Grade I status?

"To be responsible for granting permission for this is a dreadful legacy for these councillors.

“The visitors to the castle are captives behind the walls so there is no benefit to the economy of Warwick.

“I am an ordinary resident of Warwick who is very shocked that this could be allowed to happen.

“I might be pushing up the daisies when the Ferris wheel and the rollercoaster arrive but while I’m here I will fight for our heritage.

David Bennett, another resident, added: “Residents' objections have been disregarded. Residents backing onto the new hotel and car park are not seeking purely cosmetic changes, they fundamentally object to both proposals.

"Yet throughout, the planning committee's stance has been simply to see how it can mitigate the negative impacts (responding to organisational rather than residents' objections).

“New hotel inside Windsor Castle would never be approved. It's a Grade I Listed building. It's part of our heritage.

"Yet so is Warwick Castle, a national treasure in decline, unless recent planning decisions can be reversed.”