The council narrowly approved plans to build a high-rise hotel on the old ice rink site in Queen Square after a confusing planning committee meeting, in which councillors first voted to reject the plan and then reversed their decision.
The council’s planners had recommended approving the plan, despite more than 140 objections from individuals and all the main representative local groups, largely because of its impact on Wykeham Terrace, St Nicholas and its churchyard.
The first vote was tied five-all and the hotel plans were rejected on the chairman’s casting vote by 6 votes to 5. But councillors could not then agree the reasons why they wanted to reject the plan. So the committee had a second vote and this time decided to approve the plans by 7 votes to 5, apparently because two councillors who had abstained first time round decided to change their votes and support the plan.