Agenda item

22/05363/FUL - Best Western, 122 Church Road, Upper Norwood, London, SE19

Part demolition and construction of lower ground and ground floor rear extensions to accommodate additional hotel space, with a rear infill at first and second floor and other associated works.


Ward: Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood

Recommendation: Grant permission


Part demolition and construction of lower ground and ground floor rear extensions to accommodate additional hotel space, with a rear infill at first and second floor and other associated works.


Ward: Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood


The officer presented details of the planning application and in response to members’ questions explained that:


  • The proposed development was for a net increase of five hotel rooms which would bring the total number rooms at the hotel to 335 rooms.
  • A previous application which had been approved on appeal in 2019 had been implemented and there was a relevant lawful development certificate confirming the approval.
  • There was a conflict between the floor plans of the scheme which had been approved on appeal in 2019 and the current proposed development. Officers believed that if the proposed development was approved, from an initial assessment of the plans, both schemes would not be able to be implemented together.
  • At present, Members and officers were not able to establish what the applicant will choose to implement, and so the application in 2019 for 495 rooms had extant permission and the applicant could continue to implement that scheme. The proposed development was materially different to the previous application and would limit the number of rooms in the hotel to 335.
  • The site was within the Church Road conservation area, the site was locally listed, and 124-128 Church Road was grade 2 listed. There was an approximate 28m separation distance to 124 Church Road and the hotel. 
  • The previous planning permission that had been granted in August 2018 could be considered extant as there were four rooms on the lower ground level which had been demolished, this could be seen as commencement of for the proposal in the 2018 application or the proposal in the 2019 application for 495 room hotel. Officers were unable to confirm whether the planning permission that had been granted in 2018 was considered extant as there was no lawful development certificate for the 2018 application.
  • The hotel would have to restrict users of the hotel from climbing out of windows and there were no doors at the first-floor level that would provide access to the roof. Officers advised that the department works closely with the network management and environmental health teams regarding and the discharge of any planning conditions to ensure that the information submitted reduced the impact on the efficiency of the highway, as well as construction hours and the dust control measures.  Officers confirmed that such details would be secured via an appropriately worded condition.
  • In regard to trees and ecology, officers needed to see an impact caused by the development before they could ask for additional measures through condition. Any condition which would require additional planting needed to meet the reasonable test that was set out in the framework (NPPF 2023).
  • The application stated that the premises was to be used as a hotel and it was on that basis that the application should be determined.
  • There were no internal space standards that hotels had to adhere to.
  • The proposed development would see the northern element of the hotel sit approximately 1.3m closer to the boundary and the proposed development would sit approximately 47 cm closer to the boundary at the southern end of the site.

Adam Yasir and Councillor Patsy Cummings spoke against the application, Simon Fowler spoke in support of the application and Ward Member Councillor Claire Bonham addressed the Committee with her view on the application. After the speakers had finished, the Committee began the deliberation, during which they raised the following points:


  • There had been a breach of class use of the hotel as there had been individuals who had lived at the hotel for nearly three years and some families who had lived in the hotel for two years.
  • There had been so many planning applications for developments on the site that Members were unsure about what would happen to the hotel.
  • There was concern about the safety of people staying at the hotel if more people were allowed to stay at the hotel.
  • There was concern regarding the state of accommodation at the hotel.
  • The proposed scheme would increase the number of rooms with no access to natural light to 15%.
  • The lack of natural light for these rooms was a concern as asylum seekers would be there for an indefinite period and would be unable to move elsewhere.
  • Permitting this scheme could set a precedent for an even worse scheme to be proposed in future.
  • The 70 sqm hotel rooms were not sufficient for families of four or more.
  • There was concern over the potential for future overdevelopment on the site.
  • Planning permission had already been approved for an additional home to be implemented so any building that would cause a disruption to neighbours would already occur regardless of whether the current application was granted or not.
  • There was concern for the welfare and safeguarding of occupants of the hotel however it was accepted that it was not a material planning consideration.
  • The proposal was considered an over development.
  • Whilst the size of the rooms was sufficient for hotel rooms, the rooms would be used as long-term residence for occupants and therefore the size of the rooms were unsuitable.


The substantive motion to GRANT the application based on the officer’s recommendation was proposed by Councillor Johnson. This was seconded by Councillor Denton.


The motion to grant the application was taken to a vote and carried with five Members voting in favour, four Members voting against, and one Member abstained their vote.


The Committee RESOLVED to GRANT the application for - Best Western, 122 Church Road, Upper Norwood, London, SE19.


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