A NEW business-class hotel in the heart of Basingstoke has taken a big step forward.

Basingstoke and Deane counciillors on Wednesday approved the planning application from Village Hotels to build a 153-room, business-class hotel in Basing View, in what appeared to be a close margin.

Councillor Andrew McCormick, one of the councillors at the development control committee meeting, wrote on Facebook that the outcome was narrowly decided after the chairman gave a casting vote following a tied 5-5 vote from the councillors present.

The borough council's cabinet member responsible for the Basing View regeneration project, Councillor John Izett, said: "It is great news that Village Hotels has been granted planning permission to build a business-class hotel in the heart of Basing View.

“This development is a vital part of the council’s successful regeneration of Basing View. It follows engagement with businesses who wanted a new business-class hotel on the business park for their staff and clients.

“As well as creating 100 new jobs and bringing £20 million of investment into the borough, the new hotel will be a welcome addition to the good choice of modern hotels that Basingstoke has to offer and puts Basing View in a strong position to compete with neighbouring towns including Reading and Guildford." 

The development has been controversial as it was opposed by the Basingstoke Sports Trust, with the trust claiming that some of the new leisure facilities at the hotel would negatively impact the Basingstoke Sports Centre in the town centre.

It was as a result of this that the Gazette launched a campaign called ‘Save our Sports Centre’ in May 2017, when the proposal was first put forward.

A leisure impact assessment in the meeting report, carried out to survey how the proposal would affect the Sports Centre, read: “It is identified that the users of the Village Hotel leisure facilities are expected to be drawn mainly from employees of Basing View due to the convenience of the location, whereby users of Basingstoke Sports Centre would have a wider catchment area and benefits would be generated from linked trips with Festival Place.

“The two facilities would also offer significant differences in differing leisure experiences with the Basingstoke Sports Centre being a larger premises and offering a wider range of swimming and gym facilities together with social activities.

“The conclusion of the independent assessment is that the proposed development is compliant with the Local Plan and would represent part of the mix of complementary uses necessary to maximise the regeneration potential of Basing View.

"It is also concluded that the Village Hotel would not have a significant adverse impact upon the Basingstoke Sports Centre.”

Iain Stackhouse, head of property at Village Hotel Club, added: “We’re excited about bringing Village Hotel Club to Basingstoke. We are confident that, under one roof, it has a great offer for residents, guests and the business community.”