Agenda item

79-81 Clapham Common South Side (Clapham Common) 15/01219/FUL

Officers’ recommendation:


To grant conditional planning permission


[Councillor Gentry vacated the committee for the duration of the item].


Case No. 15/01219/FUL (agenda item three, page 29 of the agenda pack, page one of the addendum and page one of the second addendum).


The Planning Officer gave a presentation which included the information included in the agenda pack and subsequent addenda which had been published on Friday 7 October 2016 and on the day of the meeting.  Members were advised of the material planning issues for consideration which included the acceptability of an additional four rooms to the hotel, the impact on parking and highway conditions and amenity to local residents.  The Planning Officer explained that there had been some queries as to whether structures at the rear of the property had planning permission. A slide was displayed showing those structures which had been subject to a previous planning permission and those which had become lawful through the passage of time. This also showed the location of a further small structure which did not benefit from planning permission, but was not part of the present proposals.  The site visit and transport information had been requested when the application had previously been presented to the Committee in August 2015.


Following the Planning Officer’s presentation, objectors raised the following points:

·         The application broke key aspects of the London and Local Plans.  The area was residential and was not one specified for hotel development.

·         There was insufficient space for taxi and coach set down and pick up.

·         The proposal to have access by spiral staircases raised accessibility issues and the proposed rooms were not of sufficient quality.

·         There was currently considerable impact on amenity, with commercial vehicles using nearby roads from early in the morning.

·         The impact of an additional 50 guests to the multi-purpose room had not been considered.  This would mean that there could be 180 guests using the hotel at one time.

·         The proposal would bring the number of rooms to 67, a figure previously given as ‘overdevelopment’.

·         The issues with enforcement were disappointing.


The agent for the applicant spoke in favour of the application, stating that:

·         The application met planning policies.

·         The applicant understood the concerns regarding the multi-purpose room and had accepted conditions on times of operation and numbers of guests.

·         The parking survey had demonstrated that there was sufficient parking provision.  It was expected that a large number of guests would arrive by public transport.


Councillor Bernard Gentry then spoke as a Ward Councillor for Clapham Common, raising the following points:

·         The conditions were largely unenforceable as they covered events inside the building.

·         Coaches could not unload onto Clapham Common South Side due to Cycle Superhighway 7 (CS7).

·         He had received a large number of complaints around parking and requesting a ban on commercial vehicles.


In response to questions from Members, officers and the agent for the applicant explained that:

·         In the main agenda, condition 7 required the multi-purpose room to be ancillary and not hired out to non-patrons of the hotel, condition 8 limited the number of rooms to 67, condition 9 set limits on background noise levels and condition 10 placed restrictions on amplified sounds or music.  The addendum contained an additional condition to limit the hours of operation.

·         Background noise would be measured from outside the nearest residential window.

·         The main impact on the multi-purpose room being used for events and functions would be on parking.  If the room was solely used for hotel guests, such as for dining or a lounge, the servicing impacts would be accounted for as part of the increase in servicing associated with the additional hotel bedrooms.

·         A specific design for the ground-level grille had not yet been decided on, but most designs would allow light to penetrate.  Condition 3 had been amended to clarify that further details on materials and finishes would be sought.

·         The amount of light that rooms could be expected to receive was lower in hotels than in permanent residential property, due to the temporary nature of hotel stays.  An informative could be added to maximise daylight.

·         Having railings instead of a grille would be visually intrusive and would make the forecourt look cluttered.  Policy Q11 stated that basement lightwells should reduce visual impact through good design.

·         Traffic orders could be amended on a road-by-road basis to restrict certain types of vehicle, but that would have to be separate to the planning process.  This had not been done in Lambeth and was not usually used in these circumstances.

·         The pedestrian interview survey had recorded 13 vehicle arrivals to the hotel between 06.30 and 00.00 on 5 November 2015. 

·         The parking stress survey had covered the three roads closest to the hotel.  The maximum stress level was on Lessar Avenue at midnight, with 88% stress and leaving 10 spare spaces. Across the three roads there were 59 spare spaces at midnight.

·         ‘Small scale provision’ was not defined in policy so officers had taken a pragmatic definition.  The proposal itself was a minor expansion due to it being only four additional rooms.

·         The hotel was spread across three buildings and had been expanded over time.  Therefore the design standards that would be applied to a new build could not be applied in this case.

·         While a lightwell would allow water into the basement level, the existing lightwell had a soakaway.  A condition referring to drainage could be developed further.

·         The additional refuse generated by the four additional rooms would likely come to one large bin.  Waste Services had not raised objections to the application.  The refuse generated by the multi-purpose room had been considered in terms of the total amount of provision required for the additional bedrooms when in ancillary use, but not when for use such as functions as this would not be everyday use.


The committee considered points raised and information provided by officers in conjunction with the report before making the following observations:

·         There were concerns at the quality of the proposal and the levels of light that the new rooms would receive.

·         The history of the site, including the use of lawful use certificates, was concerning.

·         The appropriateness of the development was questionable, given that it was situated in a residential area.

·         The fact that there could be an additional 49 guests using the multi-purpose room raised an issue around local plan policy ED12.

·         Cycle Superhighway 7 raised issues around coach and taxi set down.

·         The proposal was in contravention of policy ED12.

·         The site visit had shown that there had been considerable development to the hotel site and that capacity was at its current limit.  It had also shown that the courtyard where the spiral staircase would be located was currently used for a number of purposes, such as bin storage and cycle storage.  Adding the spiral staircase would intensify this use further.

·         While the number of additional hotel guests would be small at 10, the number of potential guests using the multi-purpose room was much higher, at 49.

·         There were concerns at the ability to enforce conditions, as they controlled activities inside the building, such as the number of guests using the multi-purpose room but officers advised that this in itself should not constitute grounds for refusal.

·         Officers advised that there was a lawful use on the site for 63 bedrooms and that Members needed to focus on the impacts of the additional four bedrooms and the multi-purpose room and to consider whether that could be said to ‘tip the scales’.



It was MOVED by Councillor Wilcox and SECONDED by Councillor Seedat, and


RESOLVED, unanimously


To refuse officers’ recommendation and REFUSE Planning Permission for the following reasons:

i.              The proposal did not meet Local Plan policies ED12(a)(i) (space for taxi and coach set down), ED12(a)(ii) (the balance and mix of uses in the area), ED12(b) (accessibility and inclusion standards to new accommodation) and ED12(d) (accessibility and inclusion by design to modified accommodation).



Supporting documents: