Boris backs council on hotel scheme

Author: Cyril Richert

In today’s news bulletin from Wandsworth Council you can read:

“London Mayor Boris Johnson has backed a council decision to turn down a planning application for a 132-bedroom hotel at Clapham Junction.

In June councillors rejected proposals for a new a 16-storey hotel on the site of Woburn House – a five-storey office block at 155 Falcon Road.

Councillors on the planning applications committee said the building would be too bulky for the site and concluded that it would result in an “overbearing and dominant development” which would fail to preserve or enhance the Clapham Junction conservation area.

Following this rejection, the developers asked the Mayor to intervene and overturn the council’s decision.

But after studying the application and the council’s reasons for refusal, the Mayor has confirmed that he will not be intervening.

In the formal response to the referral, the Mayor’s report states: “Having regard to the details of the application, the matters set out in the committee report and the council’s draft decision notice, there are no sound planning reasons for the Mayor to intervene in this particular case.

Planning applications chairman Leslie McDonnell said: “I am pleased that the Mayor has endorsed our decision to refuse this application.

We had no problem with a hotel in this location – it would clearly be a benefit to the town centre. The concerns were more about whether the site could accommodate a building of this size.

“There is scope for a taller building here but it must respect its immediate surroundings and the properties around it. It must be of the right scale and size for its location.“”

Although I praise the decision of the Mayor of London, I am concerned by the statement from the Planning applications chairman Leslie McDonnell re-asserting that Clapham Junction is a scope for taller building (a nicer word to say skyscraper). Not only it seems to ignore the hundreds of people who wrote recently to the Council against such schemes, but I would like to know exactly his definition of a taller building that “must respect its immediate surroundings” and the properties around it, knowing that properties in Clapham Junction are 3-4 storey high. Is it 5 stories? 6? (for 5 years the Council’s services have been working on 42 stories…!)

That’s one of the reason why we, along with many others,  are calling for a review of Wandsworth Borough Council Core Strategy.

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