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Lower Marsh: Lambeth vetoes bedsits for 'dynamic professionals'

London SE1 website team

Plans to convert an office building in Lower Marsh into 17 bedsits targeted at "young dynamic professionals" have been knocked back by Lambeth Council for a second time.

Lower Marsh: Lambeth vetoes bedsits for 'dynamic professionals'

Omni Living has twice submitted planning applications to Lambeth Council to convert the offices above Barbarella's Cafe in Lower Marsh into a house in multiple occupation (HMO), dubbed a 'co-living' scheme.

The firm claims that Waterloo "businesses need the sort of workforce that Omni Living accommodates.

"Young dynamic professionals who need to be close to their workplace and commuter hubs and will contribute to the local community.

"This is the perfect location for Omni Living to continue; the area is screaming out for affordable and desirable accommodation, with a mix of young professionals and vibrant services workforce that would all benefit from an Omni Living home."

Omni Living says that it has a "stringent" vetting process: "Typically, we accept only professionals, mature students and proven self-employed individuals. They typically have a college degree and offer desirable skills in the workplace.

"Whilst providing affordable accommodation, our pricing point acts as a natural filter to draw together professionals who will contribute to the local economy."

Lambeth Council last month rejected the plans on the grounds that "the proposal would result in an unacceptable loss of employment land, to the detriment of the Lambeth and wider London economy and the range of local business and job opportunities".

Local business improvement district WeAreWaterloo had objected to the application. The BID said: "Since the blanket ban on hotels in Waterloo, we have feared an increase in this type of development, where the landlord will subsequently use the residential units as Airbnb or similar style holiday rentals – therefore providing no affordable key worker housing as mentioned, but instead using this mechanism to bypass the hotel ban."

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