Lambeth North hotel approved by planning inspector

A Government-appointed planning inspector has overturned Lambeth Council's decision to reject plans for an 186-bedroom hotel opposite Lambeth North Station.

Lambeth North hotel approved by planning inspector

PPHE Hotel Group - which owns SE1's four existing Park Plaza hotels - bought the empty plot of land at the junction of Westminster Bridge Road and Kennington Road for £12 million in 2019.

In July 2023 councillors on Lambeth's planning applications committee went against their own officers' recommendations and turned down PPHE's scheme for a 15-storey building - designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands - with 186 hotel bedrooms.

Councillors found that the hotel "would be a discordant addition to the townscape that would be harmful to the prevailing local character, and would cause a moderate level of less than substantial harm to the significance and special interest of the grade II listed Lincoln Tower" and that another hotel so close to others would "cause unacceptable harm to the balance and mix of local land uses".

After the developer appealed the decision, planning inspector David Prentis presided over a seven-day inquiry in May this year.

Mr Prentis's decision - allowing the appeal and granting planning permission - was published by the Planning Inspectorate this week.

The inspector concluded that "the base, middle floors and crown would create a harmonious composition, articulating the mass of the building, activating the frontage at street level and turning the corner between Westminster Bridge Road and Hercules Road".

Mr Prentis added: "I do not think that the proposal would be visually dominant, unsightly or intrusive, nor would it compete unduly with the Lincoln Tower."

He found that "With the appeal scheme in place, the spire would no longer be visible from Westminster Bridge. However, as I do not consider that this view adds materially to the ability to appreciate the significance of the listed building, that loss would not be harmful in heritage terms."

"The site is currently vacant and therefore contributes nothing to the balance and mix of uses in the local area," wrote the inspector

On the concentration of visitor accommodation in the area, the inspector wrote: "The proposal would add 186 hotel rooms to the 2,716 rooms for visitor accommodation already present in the study area.

"The council argued that the existing concentration of hotels is already causing harm and that the level of harm would be increased by the appeal scheme.

"The council’s concern is that shops, cafes, restaurants and other businesses would adapt their offer to cater for tourists, thereby diminishing the ability of residents to meet their needs within the local area."

The inspector found "no convincing evidence before the inquiry that the existing level of visitor accommodation is having the effects that the council is concerned about".

15-storey hotel at Lambeth North: developer to appeal
An eight-day inquiry is to be held into plans for an 184-bedroom hotel opposite Lambeth North tube station.
Tags: Lambeth, Hotels, Waterloo, Planning & Development, Politics & local government

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