The chief executive of the Goring in London, Jeremy Goring, has rejected claims that his hotel is locked in a dispute with the Duke of Westminster over plans to build a block of affordable flats set to overlook its most expensive suites.
The letter suggested the hotel, whose rooms start at £510 per night, would be especially worried about the impact on its royal suite, which could only be competitively sold to royalty and other high-profile guests on the basis of privacy, peacefulness, and seclusion.
However, speaking to The Caterer, Goring rubbished claims made by the London Evening Standard last night that a row existed between the Duke of Westminster, who owns Grosvenor Estates and the hotel, and said that the Goring's concerns were purely for the competitiveness of the business rather than objections to the building on principle.
He added that the hotel had a productive relationship with the council and had been impressed with its attempts to listen to all sides of the argument, with positive suggestions to minimise the impact of the flats on the hotel including shielding the block with leylandii hedges, putting the entrance on the other side of the building, sealing the windows overlooking the hotel, and ensuring that there would not be a balcony that could cause noise or smells to leak over to the hotel bedrooms.
He said: "We've got a relationship with Grosvenor [Estates] that goes back 105 years. We raised a very considered objection with Westminster Council, in order to find a good compromise to minimise any impact on this business and our 175 staff."
He added: "I've had a large number of friendly and productive meetings with the Grosvenor team, who are doing a fabulous job trying to address our very legitimate business concerns.
"We are very much 'for' affordable housing, and we think people should be able to afford to live near where they work. But ultimately this is a business issue. I feel really sorry for the council, because they do a fabulous job trying to marry up the sometimes conflicting needs of the area. But if they do what has been agreed [such as implementing the leylandii hedges, no balconies, closed windows], our guests won't feel the impact, and I'm happy."
He concluded that the hotel would continue to work closely with the landlord and the council to come to the most favourable outcome for the business and the area.