As I reported in June the developers had requested the Mayor take responsibility for deciding their application to build a hotel on Falcon Road.
The Mayor has decided that he is content with Wandsworth Council taking the decision, meaning the council’s refusal of the application stands.
Legally, the Mayor has powers to determine applications if they are strategically important enough. When the council’s planning department recommended refusal of the application to councillors the developers turned to the Mayor, claiming their hotel was of such importance he should be the decision maker.
There is a three step test the Mayor must apply: first, that the application has a significant impact on the implementation of the London plan; second, that there are significant effects on more than one borough; and third, that there are sound planning reasons for intervening.
His decision was that the hotel failed on all three tests!
The developer can still appeal to the Planning Inspectorate – which is the last option remaining to them. If they do, all objections made to the council will be carried forward.
Although the application for the hotel was rejected last night the developers are now appealing to the Mayor.
Any applicant has the right to appeal a decision, which will normally go to the planning inspectorate. This is unusual in that it’s not, technically, an appeal, but instead a request that the Mayor takes responsibility for the decision (and presumably, having taken responsibility, approves it).
I’ll also confess I don’t really understand the motives. The usual justification for asking the Mayor to rule on an application is because it impacts on his wider London strategies. It’s hard to argue that London is in desperate need for more hotel capacity.
You can argue that Wandsworth needs more capacity – but that’s a Wandsworth, not a London, matter.
Another reason might be that the application has implications for more than one borough. Again, it’s hard to see how, the site is some miles from the nearest border with Lambeth, and the size means it’s unlikely to have any effect on any of our neighbours.
I would hope this doesn’t get anywhere with the Mayor. The developers best way forward is to work with the council to come up with an acceptable scheme, rather than touting the application around in the hope someone will eventually say yes.
Residents living near Falcon Road might be interested in the current consultation the council has received for the Woburn House site on Falcon Road. The site was the old job centre and is currently a solicitors. The application is for a 16 storey, 132 bedroom, hotel.
I know many who objected to the Clapham Junction application will have similar reservations about this scheme, but also know many who feel that the area desperately needs some hotel provision.
If you wish to see more details, you find them on the council website’s planning section. The application reference is 2009/1291. If you wish to make a representation, in support or opposing the application, you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or on the council’s website.
It is worth noting that your comment will be publicly available – so you might want to send your comment as an attachment if you do not want your email address publicised.
As with the Clapham Junction application I do not wish this to be seen as pre-determining my views in any way, this post is merely to provide information.