On Thursday night, I attended a meeting of Croydon Council’s Planning Committee to speak against an application to build what the applicant called a hotel targeted at business users on the site of the Queen’s Arms in Portland Road.
This is a part of my constituency that is in desperate need of investment, so I thought long and hard before objecting to the application but there were several clear flaws with what the developer was proposing.
First, the scale of the building in relation to its setting, in particular the fact that as you looked north along Portland Road you would have seen a flat wall rising two stories above the neighbouring building.
Second, the loss of the existing public space in front of the Queen’s Arms.
Third, the lack of disabled parking.
And fourth, concerns about whether this really was going to be a hotel for business users. Most of the rooms would have been single-bed, there would have been lounges on each floor and no restaurant. It didn’t look like any business hotel that I have ever stayed in; residents who contacted me concerned about the application felt it looked more like a hostel. Council officers argued that if planning permission were granted and there was a change of use to a hostel then enforcement action could be taken, but the Council doesn’t have the best record when it comes to planning enforcement.
Anyhow, I am delighted to report that the Committee didn’t follow officers’ advice and unanimously rejected the application – and rightly expressed the hope that the applicant will amend the scheme and come back with a better application.