The inhabitants want to stop the young “disruptors” living in the village


A call from residents to ban young people with more disruptive ‘lifestyle choices’ from accepting apartments in a former Derbyshire hotel building was strongly rejected by councilors.

The owners of the Risley Hall Hotel, the Talesh Hotel Group, have asked to transform the site’s Willoughby Court building into 22 apartments for sale on the open market.

His plans indicate that the building, which houses 19 of the hotel site’s 35 rooms, was originally used as apartments before being converted into a hotel 21 years ago.

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Residents of the Risley area, including those living in the retirement village that shares the site, say previous apartments had a restriction on only housing people aged 55 and over.

They requested that the same restriction be applied to plans for return apartments in Willoughby.

However, planners at the Erewash Borough Council say that would be difficult to justify, with the building having allowed hotel guests of all ages to stay in the rooms.

Steve Birkinshaw, the council’s housing manager, said: “Hotel rooms are not subject to occupancy restrictions at this time, so I don’t see why rooms that can be occupied by anyone should now be restricted. “

He also said it was “very evident” that the rooms at Willoughby Court are not fully occupied.

At a planning meeting earlier this week (January 5), councilors approved plans to transform Willoughby Court from a hotel into 22 one-bed apartments.

Residents have argued that the site, and Willoughby Court in particular, is in disrepair, with members of the retirement village having to take voluntary responsibility for tidying up the site to ensure its upkeep.

The Derbyshire Police chief design officer also writes that there is ‘poor maintenance’ of the hotel grounds compared to private residences, with damaged or temporary exterior lighting.

At the meeting Councilor Steve Jarrett, Chairman of Risley with Hopwell Parish Council, said: “It is absolutely clear that there is an urgent need for investment.”

He said the site was clearly “deteriorating”, but that development “should not come at the expense of the residents of Risley and the retirement village of Risley Hall”.

Cllr Jarrett said apartments should be reserved for people aged 55 and over, which he said did not set a new precedent.

He said the “lifestyle choices” of people aged 55 and older were “less likely to cause disruption than younger residents,” including the lower likelihood that they own two or more vehicles.

Patrick Tracey, who lives in the retirement village, speaking on behalf of his fellow citizens, said a petition against development had been “almost universally” supported.

He said there were already parking issues at the site and that would be made worse by the flat plans, with the spaces for development already in use.

Mr Tracey claimed that the Talesh hotel group had been “negligent” in its management of the site – the site itself is managed by Countrywide Hotels, but is owned by Talesh.

He said the constant flooding issues at the site needed to be addressed and pedestrian access to the site was also an issue that needed to be addressed.

Other residents also raised the issue of the flooding and said water had covered Derby Road. They say this is partly caused by a culvert on the hotel site which is often blocked.

A report submitted with the request by Michael Ramus Architects, on behalf of Talesh, states: “As the principle of the apartments was previously the use and modified for the use of the hotel, we assume that this will be an acceptance in principle, especially as government policies for homes come together. momentum.

“The current pandemic has also accelerated this demand as the hotel and hospitality industry is suffering huge losses that it cannot continue to bear. Usually there is a national requirement for housing.

“Clearly these 22 apartments will not solve the housing shortage, but they will allow a market in an area that appears to have traditional tenures in semi-detached and detached properties, as the conversion of these hotel suites to apartments in one or two bedroom apartments will be attractive to investors to rent and to retirees and newbies on the housing buy scale.

Councilor Tim Scott said: “A lot of people have paid a lot of money to live, prosper and have a quiet life in this region. “

He said he was deeply concerned about pedestrian access and flooding issues, and said parking at the site was “inadequate.”

Councilor Howard Griffiths said: “It would be unfair to limit the use of the property which has not been restricted and is not part of the retreat complex.

“The evidence against them is anecdotal and there is no material reason to deny it.”

Councilor Gordon Thomas said it was an “impressive application” and that there was a shortage of small housing in the borough.

He said it was a “sympathetic reuse and regeneration of a historic building”.

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