Objections to planning applications come in a variety of guises. On architecture of course opinions as to what is right or wrong vary enormously.
One or two people who have commented on this project have queried the need for regeneration at Clapham Junction or the need for a hotel at all, claiming that there is no market and that anybody staying in the new hotel would only be looking for cheap accommodation whilst accessing business or enteratinment venues in the centre of London.
Adopted planning policies achieved after consultation by the council have accepted that the area of the town centre needs regeneration, especially in the area round the station. In addition studies prepared for the Mayor for London have concluded that there is an actual shortage of hotels and has put forward allocations on a borough by borough basis. Wandsworth is, at the moment, falling short of the anticipated demand by approximately 50%.
Potential operators have indicated that about 60% of hotel guests will be private, while 40% will be business. The site location is ideal for business and pleasure. Major business destinations include St George’s Hospital, Covent Garden Market and the new Diplomatic Quarter. Local attractions include Battersea Arts Centre, the de Morgan Centre, the Boat Race, the Head of the River Race, and the Grand. Slightly further afield but easily accessible from the Junction are rugby internationals, horse racing at Ascot, Sandown and Epsom, and Wimbledon tennis. That’s all apart from the sort of usage any hotel will get in a borough of abbout 275,000 people and a huge number of businesses.
Restaurants, pubs, bars, shops and clubs near the hotel can expect to see considerable spin off purchasing. When the chips are down local businesses need all the help that they can get.
On the “cheap” hotel comment, it all depends on what you mean by cheap. The high cost of the more expensive hotels in London is often cited by potential visitors from the UK and overseas. It’s likely that at current costs the room rates in this hotel would be about the £100 a night mark. That’s not “cheap” to a lot of people who may want to visit London, or to see their families etc. It is cheaper than £250 per night which most people including many companies would think excessive in today’s climate.
At the same time the proposed construction will certainly not be cheap. The town centre and Conservation Area location has required a particular level of quality and detailing which rules the “cheap” description right out. This is not the windswept desolate out of town location on a by pass or a souless industrial estate, and that has an effect on cost.