The former Quality Hotel on Penn Road, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View
The former Quality Hotel on Penn Road, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View

Approval to demolish the historic former Goldthorn Hotel on Penn Road has been granted by city planners.

However, the final decision to demolish the building has caused sadness in the community.

Known as the Quality Hotel in recent years, in its heyday the venue was a popular choice for private parties and dinner theatre shows – and believed to be a favourite of showbiz stars including Bob Monkhouse and Diana Dors.

Councillor John Reynolds, whose Graiseley ward the hotel is located in, said: “This is a sad loss of another historic building. It was a local landmark and will be missed. The local community campaigned against it [the store plans] because of concerns about extra traffic congestion, pollution, noise and the loss of trees.

“The council must monitor the situation closely to ensure local residents do not suffer from this development. I am not sure how many supermarkets we actually need.”

Councillor Paul Birch, who represents neighbouring Blakenhall and lives near the site, added: “As much as I like Lidl, there is another one just a mile and-a-half away at Finchfield, and it’s not as if our community really needs more food retailers. Within a mile are two Aldi, two Tesco, two Sainsbury’s, an Iceland, two Co-ops and a plethora of independent stores on the Dudley Road and in the town centre.

“What we are short of are hotels. At the moment we only have two four-star hotels, and with the Civic Hall coming back to the city and the potential for visitor numbers to increase, we need to create conferencing, world-class restaurants, enhance the night-time economy, and give both business and leisure travellers the options of staying in the city.

“Regrettably, planning is a misnomer, as the only people planning are the corporations targeting the city with more of the same in order to better compete. There’s nothing wrong with that as we are all for businesses improving their competitiveness, but if the city is to grow, it will need to plan its way out of the current decay.”

David Dungar, from the Wolverhampton Society, said: “This is one of few historic buildings left on this part of Penn Road. In demolishing this Victorian house we are losing one of the last references to the historic streetscape. We are very upset about this decision and made it clear we weren’t happy about the plans from the start.”

Lidl says the development will create 40 new full and part-time jobs and provide a major boost to the local economy.

When the initial application from Lidl was approved by the council, chair of the planning committee Councillor Anwen Muston said: “As a planning application, given the matters for consideration before the committee, there were no material reasons within the proposal for turning it down. If we had done so, Lidl would have appealed, costing the council considerable money, and they would easily have won their appeal.

“It wasn’t a matter of us not listening to residents’ concerns; it was us having to consider the matters outlined within the application. The only thing left to do was to move the decision from the chair, subject to conditions which were not contained in the proposal. These conditions will address the speed limit along Penn Road and mitigate against any traffic concerns as much as it is possible to do so on any busy main road these days.”

Although not listed, the building was once the residence of John Rollings, director of Star Cycles, Cars and Commercial Vehicles, and vice-president and benefactor of the Royal Wolverhampton School from 1894 to 1909.

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