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Revised redevelopment plans for Hatfield’s Comet Hotel gets Council approval

Revised plans for the redevelopment of Hatfield’s Comet Hotel have received planning consent following a meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s Development Management Committee.

Once formal notification of the decision is received, Fusion Students will be able to commence work to refurbish the listed Art Deco hotel to provide a business-focussed aparthotel and business hub. High-end managed student accommodation will be delivered in a new development adjacent to the hotel.

A previous planning application for the site was refused despite having the support of planning officers at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, who deemed the plans fully compliant with local and national planning policy, and is currently the subject of a planning appeal.

The amended proposal, submitted by Alder King Planning Consultants on behalf of Fusion Students, addressed concerns raised over the previous scheme, including lowering the height of the new buildings, reducing the number of student rooms and moving the blocks away from the site boundary, increased parking provision for the hotel, and increased green space with enhanced landscaping across the site.

Mervyn Graver of Fusion Students, said: “We are very pleased with the Council’s decision to approve our revised plans for the redevelopment of the Comet Hotel. Our proactive approach, choosing to work collaboratively with planners at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to overcome the issues from the previous plans, has been entirely vindicated. We are very grateful to officers at the Council for reciprocating that approach and helping us to arrive at a mutually beneficial decision enabling us to deliver an amended development that addresses local concerns.”

Catherine Norris from Alder King Planning Consultants commented: “We are delighted to have been involved in this exciting project and to have worked closely with Welwyn Hatfield District Council and the local community to provide for the future for the Grade II listed Comet Hotel.  The scheme, designed by Corstorphine & Wright Architects, with political engagement from Sulis Public Affairs, represents a major improvement to the site as a key entrance to the town of Hatfield. Forecasts demonstrate there is a significant latent demand for hotel and student accommodation in the town and this scheme makes a significant contribution to the high quality, well managed stock that is available. We look forward to working with the Council and the local community in taking our proposals forward.”

The development will provide 308 student bedrooms aimed at postgraduate and international students. Students living in the development will be strictly forbidden from keeping cars in the Borough. This restriction is enforceable via their contracts and has been shown to be effective in other developments owned and operated by Fusion Students. The student accommodation will be staffed 24/7, ensuring the safety and security of students while offering peace of mind to neighbouring residents who will have a point of contact on site.

In addition to the student scheme, the listed Art Deco Comet Hotel building will be fully restored, with the poor quality 1980s extension demolished and replaced with a new sensitively designed annex of high-end rooms, to form an aparthotel of serviced apartments and a business hub for meetings and networking events. This will provide a facility not currently available in Hatfield on a year-round basis, which will appeal to users including visiting academics and business people at the neighbouring University of Hertfordshire campus and Hatfield Business Park. The rejuvenated hotel will be particularly welcome by businesses in the park, following the closure of the David Lloyd Hotel. 

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