Lambeth council officers are recommending that its planning committee approve a scheme to build a six-storey 96-bedroom hotel above the Superdrug store in the centre of Brixton.
Approval at a meeting on 1 August would mean that yet another longstanding independent local trader – the SW9 bar – would disappear.
Full details are available online – including several objections to the plans.
Plans for a bar/café on the site of the current SW9 that would have been an integral part of the hotel have now been changed “to retain an independent public/house/bar use within the scheme”.
This would not be the SW9, whose proprietor Alan Culverhouse has been under pressure from the developers to surrender his lease.
New plans for number 11 Dorrell Place – which runs between Superdrug and Marks & Spencer – were published just over a week ago.
11 Dorrell Place is owned by an anonymous offshore company based in the Isle of Man.
Miraj Investments, based in Colliers Wood, is named as the applicant for planning permission. Founded in 2014, it has just two directors, Abdul Aziz Mohamed, a British national, and Balaji Perukkaranai Madabhushi*, an Indian national residing in the UK.
The two are involved in a network of property companies. The most recent. Aurous Ventures, was established this month.
The scheme would involve the partial demolition of the current Superdrug store, a building that once housed the first-ever British Home Stores shop.
The hotel would have eight floors in all, with two of them below ground level.
In 2003, Lambeth council’s planning committee refused permission for a plan to add two storeys to the current Superdrug building to create 12 flats because “its bulk, scale, design, and location, fail to relate to the height of existing development and would be an over-dominant feature on Dorrell Place”.
There would be “a loss of visual amenity, and a failure to preserve or enhance the character and appearance” of this part of the Brixton conservation area.
The planners also mentioned the noise and vibration from the railway line running right next to the building.
A revised plan for five flats and wo live/work units was also rejected in 2004.
The current application was changed by the developers from 102 to 96 rooms and reduced in height by one storey in pre-planning discussions with Lambeth council.
The application says that a 14-day consultation on the plans began on 16 May this year, resulting in 12 objections to the plan and one supporting submission.
Earlier consultation was confined to a public exhibition at Ferndale Community Sports Centre on 29 October 2015 between 3.30pm and 6.00pm. One thousand leaflets inviting the public to view proposed plans are said to have been delivered to neighbouring properties but only 15 people visited the exhibition.
The planning application notes that Lambeth council’s own “regeneration team” questioned whether the two upper floors of the Superdrug building might not be better used as refurbished retail or office space in order to create a balance of uses across the site.
The regeneration team also questioned the loss of “the popular bar/café/restaurant 11 Dorrell Place”. The new plans partly address this by retaining an “independent” bar in the plans.
Lambeth council has a target of an additional 2,000 hotel rooms in the entire borough. The application says that the 96 rooms of the proposed development would not take the total over that number.
But it goes on: “It is noted that other planning applications have been submitted since this assessment, which could result in the indicative target being exceeded.”
On 30 August 2017, Balaji Perukkaranai Madabhushi changed his registered nationality to British.