Twelve storey hotel consistent with spatial policy

A mixed-use development involving the construction of a 5,000m2 hotel, along with a replacement church and two dwellings in a south London conservation area, was held to be appropriate to its location and would be accessible by a range of means of transport.

The site contained an existing Methodist mission which would be demolished, and the council’s concern focused on the scale of the hotel which lay outside a central activities zone (CAZ) and town centres, including opportunity and intensification areas, which were intended to be the main locations for new hotel development. It did adjoin a CAZ and the London Plan supported smaller scale hotel provision in fringe areas. However, as the appellant noted, smaller scale provision was not defined.

An inspector agreed that the site occupied a fringe location and while the emerging draft London Plan omitted reference to fringe locations, this was given only limited weight. The site had a good level of public transport accessibility and although the 137 bedrooms proposed would make the scheme one of the largest hotels approved outside a CAZ, it was nonetheless "smaller scale" in the context of the development plan.

The scale of provision along with that in the planned pipeline, might well result in a quantity of hotel accommodation in excess of the borough’s targets. But there was little evidence of the tangible harm which would result. It would provide a generally scattered provision of hotel accommodation in the area rather than an over-concentration, the inspector held. It would enhance the appearance of the conservation area which was a positive benefit.

Nor did the inspector consider it necessary to provide on-site car parking for guests nor a coach drop-off point. The nearest underground station was 350 metres distant which was easily accessible on foot. A travel plan could manage staff travel and taxi trips would not be so significant as to harm highway safety and coach demand would be low.

Inspector: David Spencer; Written representations

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