Billionaire Tory donor ordered to tear down hotel as permission denied
Billionaire hotel owner is ordered to tear down his five star hotel that hosted the post-Brexit Windsor agreement after building extra wing and extending into the eaves without planning permission
- Tory donor Surinder Arora built a hotel bigger than planning permission allowed
- The Fairmont Windsor Park Hotel opened last year after four years of works
A billionaire Tory donor has been ordered to tear down his five-star hotel that hosted the post-Brexit Windsor agreement after building an extra wing and extending into the eaves without planning permission.
Surinder Arora, founder and chairman of the Arora group, has been ordered to tear down all or part of the Fairmont Windsor Park Hotel, in Egham, Surrey, after building it bigger than planning permission allowed.
Runnymede Borough Council issued an enforcement notice after it was found that the hotel had a ‘harmful effect on the green belt’. Tycoon Arora, who is on the Sunday Times Rich List, has until October 7 to appeal the decision.
As well as this, he may have to demolish five luxury treehouses after planning permission he applied for in December was denied. He began building the treehouses eight months before applying for planning permission.
Residents have accused Arora of wrecking the area, with one slamming him for habitually ‘ignoring the rules by which regular citizens live by’.
Surinder Arora winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award poses at the Eastern Eye Asian Business Awards May 8, 2007 in London
Billionaire Tory donor Arora had been approved to build the Fairmont Windsor Park Hotel (pictured), but added an extra wing and extended into the eaves – both of which were not covered in the approved plans
A Runnymede council spokesperson expressed disappointment to The Times that works were undertaken ‘without planning permission’.
The hotel was the backdrop for February’s signing of the Windsor framework, the post-Brexit legal agreement between the EU and the UK, and shortly after hosted a Conservative Party away day.
Arora is director of Arora Management Services Ltd – which he previously used to donate £5,000 to the Tories in Runnymede and Weybridge plus £1,450 in sponsorship.
Fairmont Windsor Park Hotel opened last year on the site of a former hotel, Savill Court.
The approved plans had been to redevelop the building but as it was being worked on, it collapsed and had to be built from scratch.
The luxury hotel costs more than £1,000-a-night for a suite and £400 for a standard room.
READ MORE: Labour accuses ‘reckless’ Priti Patel of ‘breaching ministerial code by brokering meeting between billionaire Tory donor and British Airways’
Arora apologised for the ‘mistakes made’ during development of the hotel, citing challenges due to the Covid pandemic. He said he is working with the council and local stakeholders to find a ‘mutually acceptable’ solution.
Arora added: ‘The hotel is a fantastic property. We want to ensure it continues serving the local area and bringing significant economic benefits to Runnymede.
‘We remain extremely proud of it but also accept the need to remedy our mistakes.’
It is thought Arora may offer to demolish structures in the village of Englefield Green which equate to the scale of the additions to the hotel, it was reported.
In a report commissioned by the Englefield Green Village Residents’ Association it was reportedly found that the additions to the property which did not have planning permission included an extra wing, two extensions and the hotel being around 2.5 metres taller.
Fairmont Windsor Park Hotel (pictured) opened last year on the site of a former hotel, Savill Court
Arora (pictured) became implicated in a scandal when it emerged then-Home Secretary Priti Patel and then-Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng had met him at Heathrow airport’s Hilton Garden Inn without officials from their departments present. Despite previously having also proposed plans to expand the airport, Arora claimed he was simply friends with the politicians and invited them for lunch
It added that in none of the 20 applications submitted by Arora did these additions get approved.
For the treehouses, Arora’s initial planning application was denied. He has submitted revised plans but may be served a second enforcement notice.
One resident complained that a ‘large commercial entity’ such as Arora should be ‘well aware’ of planning permission requirements and that he instead decided to ignore them.
Another said the damage done to woodland by the building works is ‘irreparable’.
Arora became implicated in a scandal when it emerged then-Home Secretary Priti Patel and then-Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng had met him at Heathrow airport’s Hilton Garden Inn without officials from their departments present. Despite previously having also proposed plans to expand the airport, Arora claimed he was simply friends with the politicians and had invited them for lunch.
‘I don’t do politics,’ he said. ‘I don’t support anyone. There wasn’t any agenda.’
However, ex-chancellor and former Runnymede MP Lord Hammond of Runnymede, who is an adviser of Arora Holdings Ltd, has previously called Arora a ‘long-term political supporter and friend’.
And Runnymede residents have raised concerns over a conflict of interests between Arora and the council, as he is reportedly in the process of purchasing land.
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