THE YES/NO seesaw over permission for a listed building to operate as a hotel has ended. The Planning Inspectorate this week effectively overruled Hackney planning sub-committee.
A month ago, councillors went against the advice of their planning officers by refusing the application for a change of use to the former convent at 100 Hassett Road, Homerton E9 5SJ, to a 25-bedroom hotel with en-suite bathrooms. The owner, Naveed Mir, had a council licence to use the building as a house in multiple occupation. It was promoted on the internet as the Silkhouse boutique hotel.
Mir appealed to the inspectorate against a council enforcement notice issued last September. The inspectorate this week gave him permission to run the 30-bedroom property as a hotel with up to 30 guests.
Opponents of the attempt to legalise the Silkhouse, mostly Homerton people who came together under the banner of E9 Residents to preserve the building, are considering their next move. Judicial review could be sought, but only on a legal, not planning, point and such an application would have to be made within six weeks of the inspectorate decision.
Mir could re-apply to the council for listed building consent, to undertake works allowing the creation of the boutique hotel, or operate within the permission he now has.
Mark Thackeray, of Walsingham Planning, Mir’s planning consultant, told Loving Dalston he was delighted that a hotel had been recognised as an appropriate use for “this important listed building”.
He added: “It is regrettable that Hackney council, advised by its officers that this was the case, took a different decision, but the inspectorate’s decision supersedes that made by the council.
“He [Mir] looks forward to co-operating with the council and local residents to make the hotel a success.”