A LONG-RUNNING dispute over whether a Travelodge hotel can be built in Abingdon Road, Oxford, has been resolved, after planning permission was approved.

Government planning inspector Alan Wood has given approval for the 83-bed hotel near the Redbridge park-and-ride.

Oxford City Council had thrown out plans for the £5.5m scheme for the second time last year.

Councillors said the 45 parking spaces on the site would not be enough and while the developer said the park-and-ride could be used as an overflow, this was dismissed by the city council which said it was not supposed to provide overflow parking for businesses in the city.

The council had expressed concern to the inspector that approving the application would set a precedent, but he disagreed.

In his decision, Mr Wood said: “Each case, however, falls to be considered on its own merits.

“In my judgment, it is quite likely that the hotel visitors at this particular location who are seeking to travel into the city centre, which is an internationally renowned tourist venue and the home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities, would use the bus – given the frequency and convenience of the service.

“A worst-case scenario shortfall of 25 car parking spaces, which could be offset by the fairly minimal patronage of the Redbridge park-and-ride at times of high hotel occupancy levels would not, in my judgment, result in a severe residual impact.”

Plans for a four-storey Travelodge hotel on the site – which is currently occupied by UK Bathroom Warehouse – were originally rejected in July 2012 because of fears the building would be an “over-dominant” feature close to the Oxford Green Belt.

New plans were submitted in January last year for a smaller three-storey building but this was also rejected.

City councillor Colin Cook, executive board member for city development, said: “It is a poor decision, but that is the sort of thing that occasionally happens.

“Our point was that we provide park-and-ride facilities for those coming into the city centre, not for the benefit of private concerns such as Travelodge.# “Clearly officers will have to review the decision and see where we go from here.”

Travelodge declined to comment.

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