'Strong, united community' hailed as plans for hotel in Barking withdrawn

A vacant building at 62 Cecil Avenue, Barking.

The vacant building at 62 Cecil Avenue, which would have been demolished to make room for a 27-room hotel under the plans. - Credit: Google

Neighbours are celebrating after plans to build a three-storey hotel with a pub and restaurant space in Barking were withdrawn. 

A planning application to demolish the existing vacant building in Cecil Avenue, which is more than a century old, for a 27-room “affordable, boutique hotel” was met with strong opposition from people in the surrounding area

Objectors outlined their concerns in the consultation responses, with Barking MP Margaret Hodge among those to make a submission, while a petition was also circulated among households in Cecil Avenue and surrounding streets.

Cecil Avenue, at the junction with Rosslyn Road, in Barking

The front of the site in Cecil Avenue, at the junction with Rosslyn Road. - Credit: Google

Cecil Avenue resident of 45 years Arvind Patel believed the decision to withdraw the application was prompted by the "substantial opposition and strong petition” from people in the area.

“The community is very thrilled," he said.

“The few people I’ve spoken to so far are all overjoyed - very thrilled and very happy that their voice has been heard.

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"And the action of them withdrawing the project is applauded.”

But Mr Patel added: "Having said that, and accepted they have withdrawn, I wonder what is going to happen in its place?”

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He said this decision wouldn't stop a similar proposal from being submitted by someone at a later date.

Common concerns raised to the proposal included parking issues, increased traffic and noise, potential antisocial behaviour and disturbance for elderly people and young families in the area, as well as its proximity to Eastbury Community School.

Many people believed the venue would be out of place in a residential area, while others questioned its necessity with a number of hotels, pubs and cafes in the nearby town centre.

Mr Patel, who was "flabbergasted" by the original proposal, said there had been more than 300 objections to the plans, including signatures on the petition and online submissions.

He hailed “the success of the very strong and united community”.

According to the original application, the plans sought to return the site to "its original use as a public house with short stay rooms above”.

A pub called Albert Edward initially occupied the site from 1904 until it closed in 1937 and, since then, it has been used as storage, an off-licence and a house of multiple occupation (HMO) at various times, the proposal stated.

The applicant was contacted for comment.

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