Blackfriars Road: green light for updated Motel One hotel plans

Updated plans for a new hotel in Blackfriars Road have been approved by Southwark Council's planning committee.

Blackfriars Road: green light for updated Motel One hotel plans

Proposals to build a hotel in the yard at the rear of Friars House at 160 Blackfriars Road have been bouncing around the planning system for five years, with the most recent scheme approved in 2020.

On Wednesday Southwark's planning committee was asked to approve the latest scheme, tweaked to meet the needs of the new intended hotel operator Motel One.

Developers had previously lined up the Ruby chain to run the hotel.

The change of operator means that the developer wants to increase the number of bedrooms in the hotel by 53 to 222 without increasing the size of the new building.

The hotel will be accessed via the ground floor of Friars House, whose office tenants now include the Labour Party which recently moved its headquarters to the building.

Following a query raised by objectors, the committee's legal advisor – deputy head of law Nagla Stevens – ruled that Labour councillors didn't need to recuse themselves from considering the application despite the proposed hotel's proximity to their party's national headquarters.

Planning consultant Don Messenger, representing the developer, said: "This minor amendment application seeks small changes to the second phase in regard to the hotel, affordable workspace and public realm.

"The hotel changes relate to the internal reconfiguration to respond to Motel One design concept and to make a more space-efficient building."

He added: "The development will generate new jobs and Motel One has a strong track record of recruiting local residents and is fully committed to the section 106 commitments on local labour, maximising opportunities for local unemployed residents in the borough."

Borough & Bankside ward councillor David Watson addressed the committee to air concerns raised with him by his constituents. He quoted one local resident as warning that "our area is becoming a hotel ghetto of cheap accommodation".

The committee resolved that planning permission should be granted, with five members voting in favour and one abstention.

Tags: Planning & Development, Politics & local government, Southwark

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