Plans to redevelop the Lambeth Mission & St Mary's Methodist church with a new 12-storey Premier Inn face rejection by councillors next week over fears that hotel provision in the area has reached saturation level.
For more than 40 years from 1972 the church was a partnership between Methodists and Anglicans – hence the St Mary's element of the name – but in 2016 the denominations went their separate ways.
A planning application to redevelop the site with a new church – funded by a 12-storey Premier Inn hotel – was submitted to Lambeth Council last autumn and is due to be considered by councillors on Tuesday 5 March.
The borough's planning officers have recommended that permission for the scheme be refused, on the grounds that the location is outside the central activities zone and the there is already a surfeit of hotel accommodation in the area.
In their report to councillors, Lambeth planners write: "When the occupancy of this proposed hotel is considered alongside the other hotels listed above in close proximity, it is apparent that the character of the area will increasingly be one with a high transient population, which will harm the mix and balance of uses in the area.
"This area has a fairly significant residential population and therefore to further increase the level of transient occupation in this area will harm the mix and balance of uses in the area and have a material and detrimental impact on the character of the area."
Under the deal with Premier Inn, the Lambeth Circuit of the Methodist Church stands to receive at least £4 million in addition to the provision of a new church.
The Lambeth Circuit says that it plans to share the capital proceeds across the six Methodist churches in the borough, and would use the revenue from the hotel's ground rent to employ a centre manager and community development worker.
Derek Griffin of Premier Inn wrote: "I want to express Premier Inn's support of this planning application and to confirm we have signed a 25 year agreement for lease.
"Indeed we would have signed an agreement for our larger 250 bed hotel format, such is the site's strength for hotel use.
"There is a shortage of hotel accommodation in this area and this hotel will help meet the large demand for hotel beds here.
"The site is close to major tourist attractions and benefits from excellent transport links."
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