Controversy Over Metal Clad Hotel Plans For Wimbledon Town Centre

Two schemes have been submitted for planning approval

Public meetings have been taking place to discuss a controversial plan for a metal clad nine-storey hotel in Wimbledon town centre.

Whitbread plan to build a 176-bed Premier Inn hotel at 153-161 The Broadway (see artists' impression on the top right).

They say it would create 50 new jobs and boost the local economy by bringing 80,000 new visitors a year to the town centre.

But plans for the metal clad building in the town centre have raised claims it would not fit in with the Victorian character of the area.

An original plan for a hotel on the site was for 149 rooms, and a 'Save Wimbledon Town' campaign group has also raised fears of increased traffic and noise, as well as potential anti-social behaviour.

The earlier plan, which gained approval on appeal, included 19 car parking places. But the new plan has only two bays for disabled parking.

The group organised two meetings to discuss the plans, which took place on on Wednesday (May 25) and Thursday (May 26) at the CIPD building on The Broadway.

They were attended by more than 60 people - from a wide-ranging area around Wimbledon. The first meeting included Councillors Abdul Latif, Martin Whelton and Katy Neep as well as residents from the Battles Residents' Association in South Wimbledon and a number of Friends of Wimbledon Town Centre members.

Local councillors from Trinity ward will also be holding a consultation meeting at Holy Trinity Church, The Broadway, at 10am on Saturday (May 28).

Residents have until June 8 to make their comments on the scheme. You can do this through Merton Council's online planning explorer and searching for application 16/P1149.

The hotel would expect to open in 2018 if approval is granted this year - that would follow six months of demolition and 18 months of building work.

Griffiths Road resident Sara El-Gammal, who organised the two meetings, said: "The metal cladding is wholly insensitive, unsympathetic and goes against the grain and character of mainly brick buildings and low-rise Victorian terraced neighbourhoods of Wimbledon.

"Whitbread have built many brick hotels around the country, including Spitalfields and Southwark, and we want brick - not metal - to fit in with Wimbledon.

"The number of rooms has been increased to 176 rooms from 149 under an approved appeal - a 30% increase. That would raise issues of noise, traffic and parking. The plans showed that over 35 cars would need to find parking each night, and indicated the nearest parking lot as being the Wimbledon Theatre car park - but that has already been tendered off and is expected to be turned into offices. The second car park was Hartfield Road, but that is up for development when the lease runs out in 2019.

"We are not against development or hotels - just those that go against the grain and character of the town. As residents, we needed to get planners and developers to look beyond just the site and adjacent buildings and to look at Wimbledon as a whole. If you want to bring tourists and business in droves, produce something pleasing."

Meanwhile, another hotel plan has been submitted for the site now occupied by The Slug at 12 Hartfield Road.

This seven-storey hotel would house 150 rooms and a ground floor restaurant. Applicant Hermes Property Limited says it would create 21 full-time jobs.

Comments about that scheme can also be made before June 8. Go to Merton council planning explorer and search for application 16/P1374.

What do you think? Why not comment on our forum?

May 26, 2016

Related links
Related Links

Whitbread's Premier Inn plans

The Hartfield Road site