Architect John Pass fondly remembers his childhood trips to Drayton Manor Theme Park, near Tamworth, Staffordshire, in the 1950s. Today, 50 years later, Mr Pass visits the park to admire the £20m, 150-room Drayton Manor Hotel, which he designed.Mr Pass, who grew up in Whittington, just six miles from the park, is due to retire next year and the Drayton Manor Hotel, which opened on Monday 15th August, is his final project.
Mr Pass’ practice, John Pass Associates, based in Warwick, was originally briefed about the hotel in 1998 and he has devoted much of the past 13 years on this development.
At the time, the plan was to build an 86-bedroom hotel with a leisure centre.The design team had to overcome sensitive issues concerning the proposed hotel site being on Green Belt land. In addition, many of the trees in the area had been planted 300 years agoby the Peel family, the previous landowners. The Bryan family, who own Drayton Manor Theme Park, also planted a number of trees since purchasing the land in 1949. As such there were a number of Tree Preservation Orders in place.
Lichfield District Council approved original planning application in 2003. But, due to the land being Green Belt, the Department of the Environment called in the application and a Full Planning Inquiry was undertaken. In 2003, the inquiry granted planning permission with many conditions, some of which related to the height of the Hotel, building materials, protection of the trees and fauna and flora.
But, the hotel did not go forward as a definite project until 2005 when a further evaluation was made of the accommodation within the original 2003 design. Due to the change in market conditions and commercial viability, the design had to be amended in order to provide 150 bedrooms.
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