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James Hatts

Lambeth vetoes plan to replace Days Hotel with 13-storey tower

A proposal to knock down the Days Hotel Waterloo at the corner of Kennington Road and Lambeth Road and replace it with a new hotel with more than twice as many rooms has been turned down by Lambeth councillors.

Lambeth vetoes plan to replace Days Hotel with 13-storey tower
Rejected: the proposed 13-storey hotel

The existing six-storey building dates from 1981 and was used as a hostel and student hall of residence before Days Inn Waterloo (later Days Hotel Waterloo) opened in 2000.

A scheme for redevelopment of the site was rejected by Lambeth's planning applications committee on Tuesday night by four votes with two absentions.

Councillors rejected the scheme because of its height, bulk and massing and its impact on residential amenity in the immediate area, including loss of daylight and sunlight and an increased sense of enclosure to Colwyn House on the Briant Estate.

The proposed replacement building – which was recommended for approval by Lambeth's planning department – would be up to 13 storeys high and will have 355 bedrooms compared to 162 in the current hotel.

A planning officer told the committee that the proposed new building would offer a "much improved streetscape" and a "positive response to the local character".

Jesse Beardsworth, who lives in Cosser Street, urged councillors to reject the scheme for being too bulky and too high, as well as jeopardising the residential character of Cosser Street.

Councillors heard from Sybil Pereira, chair of the Briant Estate tenants' and residents' association, who said Colwyn House residents would have their daylight and sunlight "obliterated" while a "large multinational fills its coffers at our expense".

Lambeth Road resident Ben White claimed that the scheme fails to meet council policies on amenity, community safety and local distinctiveness: "Local residents deserve a better development, and I would urge you to reject this application."

Architect Adam Hall – of Falconer Chester Hall – told councillors the scheme before them represented the results of three years of work and several rounds of public consultation.

He said he was "very proud" of the scheme to replace an "ugly and poor quality" building.

Planning consultant Guy Bransby from JLL said that the expanded hotel would host 200 full time and 40 part time jobs as well as apprenticeships, with a combined wage bill of 6 million a year.

Mr Bransby claimed that hotel guests would spend an estimated 6.65 million a year with local businesses.

Bishop's ward councillor Ben Kind told the committee that the scheme is "poorly designed and badly thought through" and urged the developer to come back with a revised proposal which would have fewer negative impact on neighbouring residents.

Committee member Cllr Joanne Simpson described the building as "bulky" and "overbearing" and argued that it would be harmful to the setting of the listed Imperial War Museum as well as having an unacceptable impact on daylight and sunlight to Colwyn House.

Cllr Mohammed Seedat was worried that the hotel would prove damaging to the setting of Lambeth Palace when seen from Lambeth Bridge – a concern raised by Historic England.

Cllr Sonia Winifred said she was "very concerned" about the "health and wellbeing and quality of life" of local people who could lose daylight and sunlight.

Cllr Nigel Haselden didn't share his colleagues' heritage concerns and argued that the proposed new hotel would be a considerable improvement on the current building.

Until World War II the site was occupied by Surrey Lodge, a complex of model dwellings founded by Emma Cons, the Victorian social reformer who has close associations with Morley College and The Old Vic.

39 people were killed and 70 were injured when Surrey Lodge and the Lambeth Baths were destroyed by a V2 bomb in January 1945.

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