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'Oversized' Hampton by Hilton hotel in Shoreditch would hide view of heritage chocolate factory

PUBLISHED: 15:03 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:38 01 June 2018

Chocolate Studios from Westland Place. Picture: Google Street View

Chocolate Studios from Westland Place. Picture: Google Street View

Google Street View

A former chocolate factory in a Shoreditch conservation area will be totally hidden from view if developers get their way and build a five-storey hotel three metres away.

The empty shell in Chocolate Studios before Action PR's refurbishmentThe empty shell in Chocolate Studios before Action PR's refurbishment

Hackney Council’s planning officer Steve Fraser-Lim has recommended Westcombe is granted permission to construct the Hampton by Hilton hotel in a car park in Westland Place, next to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen.

Neighbours whose homes and offices in Chocolate Studios, Shepherdess Walk, back onto the car park are up in arms at the prospect of having the hotel right outside their windows.

They have pointed out the development would be barred in neighbouring Islington because it breaches guidelines about views of the sky.

Furthermore Westcombe’s business tenants there, some of whom spent thousands from their own pockets kitting out the offices they rent, have been told access to their properties would be closed off during construction.

Action PR's refurbishment of the empty shellAction PR's refurbishment of the empty shell

The group has united and spent over £20,000 on legal fees and is now set to submit a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Alexandra Stara, a professor of architecture and leaseholder of one of the flats, told the Gazette: “There’s no justification for the incredible impact it’s going to have on its neighbours, and the question is: why is Hackney accepting this massively oversized development?

“This hotel is tiny in the scheme of things but on an urban scale it’s unjustifiable.”

Dawn Tuckwell, director of a communications agency, claims Westcombe didn’t ever share its vision for the hotel, and allowed her agency to spend £50,000 kitting out a concrete shell in August 2016.

She said: “At the front we have glass and that’s our access point, and then at the back it’s sealed, but they are suggesting sealing off all the front windows and doors, and to knock through everything that we have fitted.

“But our major concern is that there has been a catalogue of errors by the council the whole way through.”

Graham Newton from Westcombe’s agent, the Architects Network Ltd, declined to comment.

A spokesman for Hackney Council said: “This is a live planning application, and, as with all applications, will be judged on its merits in accordance with national, London-wide and local planning policies.”

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