One of the most senior members of Lambeth council, Paul McGlone, deputy leader (investment and partnerships), has warned its planning committee of his “real concerns” about plans for a six-storey budget hotel in central Brixton.
And he has told planners that, even though he is a councillor for the ward where the hotel is planned, he had not received any notification of any public consultation by the developer.
The council’s planners are backing the controversial bid to demolish the Superdrug building next to Marks & Spencer – which housed the first British Home Stores – and build a hotel on the site.
It is due to be considered at a meeting of the planning committee tonight (19 September).
The planning officers concede that they are side-stepping development regulations. They had to withdraw the application at the last minute before it was last due to be considered because of concerns raised by Transport for London.
The building would include a new Superdrug store, but would see the end of a Brixton institution – the SW9 bar.
McGlone, a Labour councillor since 1998 for Ferndale ward where the hotel would be built, told the planning committee that: “I have real concerns about the operations of this business in this central Brixton location that has clear constraints on proper access (both to the ‘front of house’ as a hotel and ‘back of house’ for servicing).”
The entrance to the hotel would be on the pedestrian-only Dorrell Place which runs between Superdrug and Marks & Spencer. The nearest roads would be the red-route Brixton Road and the narrow and tortuous Nursery Road which runs behind the proposed development.
McGlone said he has “serious concerns” for residents in Nursery Road and questioned the “apparent absence” in the planning application of consideration of traffic impact on “this extremely constrained, narrow, one-way road that already suffers from use as a ‘rat-run’ from Ferndale Road to Acre Lane”.
He said that this, combined with local controlled parking zone (CPZ) hours, meant that at weekends cars of users of the Ferndale Sports Centre are parked on the left hand side of the road, making it a one-lane road and mostly only passable by cars.
“Nursery Road is not one-way,” he said, “but given its narrowness, use as a rat-run and CPZ issues of parking at weekends, it looks like a one-way road to users.”
McGlone also said that: “As ward councillor I did not receive any notification of any public consultation or event by the developer and, in fact, they made no attempt to contact ward councillors on this significant development.
“Anecdotally I also see comments that local residents, especially in Nursery Road, have not been consulted.
“What is the planning policy expectation of developers to engage the affected area of a development, and what did they tell you they did?
“Can you provide me with any assurance of the extent and number consulted during the planning consultation, and if any residents in Nursery Road responded?”
Lambeth council planners responded by saying that the council cannot insist that national and local consultation guidelines are followed and added that failure to carry out “pre-application engagement” cannot form a part of the planning committee’s consideration of the application.
The meeting of Lambeth council’s planning applications committee is due to take place tonight, Tuesday 19 September, at 7pm in the Karibu Education Centre, 7 Gresham Road, SW9 7PH.
See our earlier stories