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Blackfriars Road hotel: planning inspector dismisses appeal

Plans for a 220-room hotel in the car park of a Blackfriars Road office block have been vetoed by a planning inspector who has dismissed the developer's appeal against Southwark councillors' decision to reject the scheme.

Blackfriars Road hotel: planning inspector dismisses appeal

Endurance Land wanted to build a hotel in the car park behind 160 Blackfriars Road, the office building with Sainsbury's Local, Costa Coffee and Pret a Manger on the ground floor.

Councillors on Southwark's planning committee last October voted to refuse planning permission, despite heavy pressure from council officers to approve the scheme.

The developer lodged an appeal and the case was considered at a four-day planning inquiry in August.

Planning inspector David Nicholson's decision – dismissing the appeal – was published on Monday.

Whilst the inspector didn't back the committee's argument that the area was already saturated with hotels, he found against the scheme on design grounds, warning that it would "fall between two stools and fail to be either an attractive landmark or a subtle and subservient addition".

He wrote: "At street level, any positive contribution from the removal of an unsightly car park would be outweighed by the harmful impact of its replacement."

Mr Nicholson also concluded that the principle of a hotel use on the site would be acceptable, and he was untroubled by councillors' concerns about the high proportion of windowless rooms in the proposed hotel (23 per cent) which would lack natural daylight.

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