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The owners of the beleaguered Silk House hotel on Hassett Road, won their appeal to operate as a hotel. The decision over rules an enforcement notice issued by Hackney council in July 2011.
The former convent known as Sacred Heart Lodge and now grade II listed building, was used by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary from 1872 who incorporated it as an orphanage and was at one time a women’s hostel. More recently it has been operating as a no frills low budget bed and breakfast, which has been the centre of a dispute with a handful of residents on Hassett Road, who have been campaigning to have it closed.
A very delighted Mr Naveen Mir, owner of the hotel, told Hackney Hive “We are very happy with the outcome from the Planning Inspectorate. It has been long awaited and I am glad move along with our plans to develop a world class boutique hotel, deserving of the uniqueness and history of the building.
“We are looking forward to working with locals in the area and again offering ourselves open to dialogue on how we can add something good to the infrastructure of Hackney and make Homerton a better place to live for everyone.
Mr Mir added, “We hope our offer will be accepted, especially by local activists on Hassett Road.”
Although the enforcement notice to cease operating as a hotel has been over-ruled, there are still several conditions the hotel must abide by, which include; a maximum capacity of 30 occupants, to ensure that sustainable travel arrangements are in place and to secure bicycle and waste facilities.
The planning inspector noted in his decision: “Residents of three dwellings in the vicinity object to the unauthorised use considering it to be a low grade hotel with transient residents and having an effect on traffic. Concern has been expressed over the activities on the site relating to building work, the behaviour of guests, late night noise, littering, abuse from staff, and that children of local families can no longer play in the street due to the presence of strangers.
“Whilst these are no doubt genuine concerns of local residents, the Council has not submitted any evidence to indicate that the level of disturbance is substantial, and persistent to justify dismissing the appeal on the grounds of disturbance to the local residents.
“Although the notice refers to ‘numerous complaints concerning undue noise and disturbance’, no record detailing the frequency and nature of complaints to the Council or to the police has been made available and there has been no response to concern over the fear of crime”.
A small local group named E9 Resident’s has campaigned against the hotel on their road at one point exclaiming “We would prefer squatters”, but refused to comment to Hackney Hive preferring to take to twitter, where they left several cryptic messages.