A SADDLEWORTH hotelier is remaining defiant despite plans for an 18-bedroom annex expansion failing to attract the support of the Saddleworth Parish Council planning committee.
Anthony Baker, 78, has developed the landmark four-star Saddleworth Hotel on the A62 Oldham-Huddersfield Road on the outskirts of Delph over the last 50 years.
But now the Saddleworth Parish Council’s planning committee has recommended refusal of Mr Baker’s plans to build a new three-storey detached annex to compliment the hotel’s existing 16 bedrooms.
At the meeting Cllr Alan Roughley expressed concerns about the proposed development in the historic Castleshaw Valley.
He said: “The Valley is one of the few jewels left in Saddleworth’s crown in its appearance and it is special. It should be turned down because it’s inappropriate development in the greenbelt.
“It’s not inviting tourists to the district and the very special circumstances for allowing this application have not been demonstrated.”
He added: “The hotel is largely used for weddings and local events.”
Local resident Geoff Bayley, a former parish councillor for Delph and Denshaw, told the committee he believed the new extension would be an “inappropriate use and over development of greenbelt.”
Cllr Mike Buckley added: “Limited extension in the greenbelt is permitted but in the light of the past history of multiple extensions on this site, a new building of the size proposed would probably be regarded in planning terms as ‘inappropriate development in the Green Belt’.
“Such development has to justified by very special circumstances. The committee will need to decide whether very special circumstances apply in this case to justify the development.
“Similar applications in the past have been justified by the contribution they make to tourism and the local economy, particularly in any new jobs they create,” he added.
Mr Baker has invested a lifetime in developing the hotel into a luxury, four star operation with a spa, banqueting and conferencing, accommodating up to 400 guests.
He said: “We are disappointed the Parish Council have chosen not to support our application.
“We are a successful family-run business and the proposed expansion to the hotel will create local employment opportunities arising from the construction and management of the project as well as contributing to the wider economy of Oldham.
“Notwithstanding the Parish Council comment we are pleased to report the application has the support of Oldham Council Officers.
“They endorse our application and understand the development would allow the business to develop, delivering improved services and facilities for guests and providing a welcome boost for tourism in the area.”