A five-star hotel has prompted complaints from neighbours in one of Aberdeen’s most exclusive areas over its plans to create outdoor seating areas for patrons.
The luxury Chester Hotel on Queen’s Road has applied for planning permission to erect a pergola in the grounds to the rear, as well as permanent granite seats at the front.
Both areas would be licensed, prompting residents in nearby Harlaw Road, Harlaw Place and Queen’s Lane South to raise fears over excessive noise from what they term a “beer garden”.
Queen’s Cross and Harlaw community council has also objected to the plans, citing a loss of amenity for neighbours and potential parking problems.
However, hotel bosses have insisted there is no plan for a beer garden, and that the outdoor area to the rear would be used for small wedding ceremonies or as a backdrop for taking photographs of brides and bridesmaids.
In a submission to planners, Graham Mitchell Architects, on behalf of the hotel, said: “Please note there is no intention to use this area as a beer garden, it is distant from the hotel bars, and is intentionally not connected to any of the other drinking areas, indoors or outdoors.”
The letter also stressed that the introduction of the pergola into the grounds would only be for the use of bridal parties and would not generate any additional traffic.
Hazlehead, Ashley and Queen’s Cross ward councillor Martin Greig, who sits on the planning committee, said the 19 letters of objection showed there was concern locally.
He added: “It is important to listen to the comments made on this application.”
The city council’s head of planning Margaret Bochel, in a report to a planning development management committee meeting on Thursday, confirms there is “no application” for a beer garden and says the licence that is in place does not permit use of that nature.
Ms Bochel, who has recommended unconditional approval of the plans, points out that when the hotel previously operated as Simpsons, there was an outdoor terrace. She adds that there are no planning restrictions on the times at which hotel guests can be outside.
Ms Bochel adds: “To summarise, patrons can congregate, smoke or drink in this part of the grounds whether or not a pergola or hardstanding landscaping exists.”