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Protesters gather to stop new Elephant & Castle hotel towering over children’s park

A group of Elephant & Castle campaigners want to prevent a fifteen-storey “boutique hotel” being built by an offshore developer right next to a children’s park.

Developers Create REIT have submitted plans for the hotel at 21 St George’s Road, close to the Elephant & Castle roundabout. The 89-bedroom building would also include a restaurant and office space, as well as a shopping kiosk.

The site is in the West Square Character Area, a zone set out by Southwark Council in its planning document for Elephant & Castle in 2012. The document lists the council’s strategy for the predominantly low-rise area, including the following points:

• Ensure that development conserves or enhances the character and appearance of the West Square conservation area and the proposed Elliott’s Row conservation area and their settings
• Maintain and improve the existing open spaces
• Maintain the area as a predominantly residential area

The proposed hotel is just outside the Elliot’s Row conservation area and near the West Square conservation area, but because it is in the broader ‘character area’ it should still aim to keep to these guidelines, according to the 2012 council document.

The document added that new developments should [maintain] the established or historic building line…’, which is mostly between two and four storeys across the two conservation areas.

The developers say that the building would create a bridge between the swath of taller buildings around the Elephant & Castle roundabout and the smaller buildings on St George’s Road.

Because of the height of the proposed block, the campaigners, who call themselves Stop St George’s Tower, are also worried about the potential overshadowing on existing nearby housing, a loss of privacy for people who could have hotel rooms across from their bedroom windows, and the effect on the park.

The developers said that there will be no “significant sunlight loss” for buildings on nearby streets and that the gap between the hotel and nearby buildings is “well beyond” overlooking distances.

Other concerns include increased traffic to the area. Create REIT said that visitors will mostly take public transport.

Campaigners say that the consultation has been ineffective and failed to take into account the anxieties of local residents about the new building. The developers said they held seven meetings with residents, councillors and the campaigners and sent out two sets of updates on the plans in February and May this year, giving a chance to provide feedback. Create REIT said feedback was “largely positive”.

Locals also raised concerns about the offshore developers themselves. Create REIT has no website and appears to be registered as a company in Guernsey. A spokesperson for the company said that the developer is based in Southwark and has several properties in the borough.

They added that the proposals were “a valuable addition to the area”, and were “the product of more than twelve months of careful design” undertaken to ensure the building “does not impact on the local conservation areas and steps down from the heights within the town centre.”

The spokesperson went on: “Through our discussions with local groups, including members of Stop St George’s Tower, we have demonstrated that their concerns have been addressed through the design of the building.

“With regards to overlooking and sunlight impacts, the streets they raise concerns regarding sit more than 40 metres from the site, and in the case of Hayles Street and Prospect House more than 80m and 100m respectively. These distances far exceed [typical] separation distances on standard London streets, let alone the local streets – which in some cases are as low as ten metres.

“None of the streets highlighted by Stop St George’s Towers will suffer significant sunlight loss or overlooking as a result of proposals.

“The building sits outside of both local conservation areas and immediately next to the consented [London College of Communication] building which sits at more than twenty storeys with the even taller elements of Elephant and Castle beyond this…

“The proposed hotel will be less than 100 metres from Elephant and Castle tube station with visitors [overwhelmingly] arriving via public transport at this well-connected location.”

There have been 44 comments on the planning application, 42 of which object to the building. Two are in favour, citing the investment and employment in the area as benefits.

Comments are open on Southwark’s planning website under the reference 21/AP/2838.

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. I’m sick and tired of developers and Southwark council saying there is no loss of light when thee clearly this , they ensure their surveys go in there favour to get planning ? But then why did they ask our garage renters to vacate , and housing needs forms sent to residents when a planning application hasn’t been out in which means they are. It actually in housing need ? Someone needs to look into Southwark planning and the way it’s run !!!!

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