Trafford Council is at risk of substantial costs in compensation to a developer unless it reconsiders its refusal of a proposal for a hotel a stone's throw from the town hall.

Councillors refused a plan for a 10-storey hotel between Chester Road and Hornby Road on March 10, some two years after a plan for a 16-storey hotel on the same site was also refused.

On March 10, three reasons were offered for the refusal of the proposal, which went against planning officers' recommendations. These were a detrimental impact on the appearance of the area, a detrimental impact on overlooked properties and a lack of parking.

But Acre Hotels has appealed the decision and, as part of its preparation to defend itself in front of the Planning Inspectorate, Trafford Council has discovered issues with all three reasons.

According to legal advice sought by the council, it is at risk of substantial costs in compensation to Acre Hotels if no action is taken.

Messenger Newspapers: The hotel between Chester Road and Hornby Road. Picture: Stride TreglownThe hotel between Chester Road and Hornby Road. Picture: Stride Treglown

A report to be considered tonight reads: "Counsel advice is, as matters stand, the council faces a significant risk of costs in respect of each of the reasons for refusal. Awards of costs may be partial (for example, covering particular issues or individual reasons for refusal) or full (covering the entire costs incurred by a party in the appeal).

"The extent of costs associated with an appeal can be substantial."

The issue with the first reason, the detrimental impact on the appearance of the area, is that the Planning Inspectorate concluded at appeal in 2020 that a 16-storey hotel would not have a detrimental impact. It is therefore assumed this applies to a 10-storey hotel too.

The Civic Quarter Area Action Plan, which has been introduced by Trafford Council since 2020, also suggests the site is suitable for a construction of up to 12 storeys.

Meanwhile the second reason, the detrimental impact on overlooked properties, is addressed by inclusion of angled and obscured windows in Acre Hotels' application.

And the issue with the third reason, a lack of parking, is there was no opposition to Acre Hotels' application by the highway authority.

Tonight, councillors are advised to allow planning officers permission to amend or remove all three reasons, a decision which could see the hotel approved after all. But even this could not be enough to avoid compensation as the appeal process is already underway.

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The report reads: "Members are also advised that even if all the reasons for refusal are removed and the council does not seek to present evidence to defend the reasons at appeal, costs can still be applied for and awarded against the council, although it is likely that if this were to be the case the costs awarded would be much reduced.

"In order to reduce this risk further, if members are minded to removal all reasons for refusal, then officers will seek a written undertaking from the appellant that they will not apply for costs."

The Planning and Development Management Committee is scheduled to meet at 6.30pm.