Why is a hotel being proposed? Is this an appropriate land use for the site?
We appreciate that some local residents have concerns about a new hotel in the area. During the appeal process for the previous application, the independent Planning Inspector found that the proposed land use is acceptable and that there is not a dominance of visitor accommodation in the locality, a finding echoed by our own assessments for this present application.
The hotel forms part of a mix of complementary uses on the site, including office space, retail and affordable workspace/ community space. This vibrant blend of uses will create a well-used and interesting space and take full advantage of the currently under-utilised car park. The development will also contribute to economic growth in the area, creating between 75 and 98 jobs available to local people.
What impact will the proposed building have on neighbouring residential properties in terms of daylight and sunlight levels?
We acknowledge residents’ concerns regarding potential daylight and sunlight impacts on their properties. These will be lower than in the previous application, by virtue of the reduction in the height of the proposed new building.
A full assessment of these impacts has been undertaken and forms part of the planning application. It demonstrates that all such impacts on residents’ existing daylight will fall within the guidelines set out by planning policy.
Won’t additional traffic as a result of the hotel cause additional congestion and disruption for local residents?
The Transport Assessment, which forms part of the planning application, includes detailed assessments of the projected impact of the development on the local transport network. It has found that there is unlikely to be a substantial increase in the number of vehicle trips to the site, particularly during the critical morning and evening peak periods. The site is in an area of high accessibility, such that most trips will be by public transport or active modes.
While the nature of hotel use means that there will be some trips by taxi, the number of trips, once spread across the day, will be low, as set out in the Transport Assessment. Most taxi trips will also be local and therefore already on the highway network in the surrounding area. Furthermore, the Operational Management Plan, submitted as part of the planning application, includes a section dedicated to the proposals for managing the movements of taxis and coaches – as far as the hotel will be in a position to do this. We are hopeful that the removal of the existing – albeit underused – car park will contribute to a reduction in traffic.
In terms of construction and servicing traffic, we will agree delivery schedules and routes with Southwark Council. We recognise residents’ concerns about the existing traffic system locally and aim to reflect these in our commitments.
The hotel will discourage local coach activity by promoting alternative modes of transport, including encouraging guests to make use of the excellent local public transport links. If necessary, we will work with Southwark Council and/or Transport for London to secure a formal taxi rank on Blackfriars Road.