Plans for a 14-storey building on Blackfriars Road with a total of 447 hotel rooms have been given the green light by Southwark's planning committee.
They are proposing to demolish the former Waterman Group building and replace it (and the adjacent car park) with two new hotels – a two-star brand and a 4-star brand – operated by the same company.
The 4-star hotel will have 182 rooms and the 2-star hotel will have 295 rooms. A gym, swimming pool, steam room and sauna are planned for the basement.
The new building has been designed by HKR Architects who are based in nearby Wootton Street.
Angus Monteith of McAleer & Rushe told councillors that a "major European hotel brand" has signed up to operate the hotels which would be completed by autumn 2011.
It seems likely that Accor – with its Novotel and Ibis brands – will soon be named as the operator in question. Accor already operates three SE1 hotels – the Mercure London City Bankside, the Novotel London City South and the Novotel London Waterloo.
The proposal will include the widening of Meymott Street which will be given a raised carriageway and a smarter look.
Planning officer Yvonne Lewis told Southwark's planning committee on Tuesday night that the loss of the existing office space was deemed acceptable because of an oversupply of commercial premises in the locality, as well as a number of stalled office development schemes such as Wedge House and 240 Blackfriars Road.
Objectors to the planning application included the Friends of Hatfields Green who expressed concern about the combined effect of all the tall buildings proposed for the immediate area.
Blackfriars Medical Practice in Colombo Street also raised concerns about the impact on access to the surgery via Meymott Street.
McAleer & Rushe have indicated that they plan to start work on the hotel scheme as soon as archaeological investigations have been completed.
"Blackfriars Road needs developers to show confidence and get on with their schemes," said Angus Monteith.
"We have confidence in this scheme. We've got to encourage other developers to show the same confidence."
The planning committee unaninmously resolved to grant planning permission for the development which is subject to referral to the Mayor of London.
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