Billionaire Fairmont Hotel owner apologizes for building treehouses: ‘You’ll never see that again’

The billionaire hotelier who applied for planning permission after building on the greenbelt was told no by Runnymede councilors – much to the delight of residents who objected. Unless the Arora Group wins the appeal, it will now have to take down four treehouses on stilts – although Mr Arora said he would ‘prefer to do things amicably’.

The company, whose director Surinder Arora is worth nearly £1.26billion, applied for planning permission in December for lodges with hot tubs on wooden decks, next to its luxury Fairmont hotel near Windsor Great Park. But he had already started building them eight months before.

Council officers recommended the application be approved retrospectively, but residents of Englefield Green were seething and calling on council to take a stand against the ‘greenbelt desecration’. The Sunday Times rich list hotel tycoon Surinder Arora personally addressed the entire council chamber on Wednesday evening (June 22), saying he was sorry his team had made a mistake .

READ MORE: Hotel tycoon built luxury treehouses on greenbelt near Windsor Great Park without permission

He said: ‘I really, from all of us in Arora and from myself, want to apologize to the members, officers and my neighbors and residents of Englefield Green for what happened. This is probably the first time in my 23-year professional career that I’ve had this conversation.

“I’m not one of those neighbors who cause havoc or hell. You’ll never see that from Arora again.”

He said it was ‘the first country type hotel in Arora, just because I live a few miles away’ and that they had spent over £7.2million on landscaping alone. The borough council’s planning committee rejected Arora’s candidacy, with nine members voting in favor, three against and one abstention.

Residents of Englefield Green celebrate rejection of Arora’s candidacy

A majority said they believed the scale of construction would negatively impact the green belt and did not believe the “very special circumstances” needed to justify this existed.

The claimant argued that they existed because the stables and log cabins on the site had been demolished and had more floor space than the treehouses. But Marisa Heath said there is a big difference between accommodation for horses and accommodation for people.

The Conservative Councilor for Englefield Green East added: ‘In 18 years I have never had so many residents contact me in protest. Councilor Isabel Mullens, Runnymede Independent Residents Group, Egham Town, was applauded by the residents present when she said: “The commercial success of this business certainly does not depend on four tree houses. discredit this advice.”

Councilor John Furey, Conservative, Addlestone South, said the development ‘would cause no harm to warrant refusal in the public interest’ and asked if the cost of an appeal was good value for money. “Believe me, if we refuse, we will appeal,” he said.

“The question is whether it’s worth it for everyone in this borough and not just the people of Englefield Green.” After his refusal, Englefield Green East councilor Andrea Berardi, Green and Independent Alliance, said: ‘I am absolutely over the moon.

“This is an important victory for the community, everyone rallied. It was a major affront to our community and our ecology. If this had been approved, the green belt would have been within reach of no one. any developer. This sends a big signal that it can’t go on.

After the meeting, Mr Arora said he felt “very sad, upset and disappointed”. When asked if he intended to appeal, he replied: “It would be a last resort. I will do everything in my power to make it work out amicably.

“I really had no idea how strong the feelings of the residents were. It shocked me. I wasn’t close enough. We’ll take some tips and talk to neighbors and local councilors to find out if there are things we can do. The only thing I can’t do is go back, no one can do that.

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