A new ‘Apart Hotel’ on Lavender Hill?

BBC updated proposalPlans have been developed for an 11-room ‘apart hotel’, on part of the Battersea Business Centre.  An apart-hotel, also known as serviced apartments, is something that sits part way between a hotel room and a short term flat rental contract, and is designed for ‘hassle free’ medium-length stays.  The rooms will be set in four groups with their own shared living room areas – all accessed through the back of the IdeaSpace shared workspace on Lavender Hill; the artists’ impression of the development (drawn from the planning application) is shown above.

At the beginning of last year, we reported on a similar proposal, which was later withdrawn – in this case because the developers had a steer from a helpful Council planning officer that the plans were likely to be recommended for refusal – but that if they reworked the proposals to address some of the issues, they would have a better chance.  The new proposal is smaller and lower (a whole storey has been removed from the roof area), it has more windows facing the business centre car park, and has generally been redesigned to look less dominant.

Our diagram below indicates the rough area covered by this proposal, which continues the trend of using the land behind the main buildings on Lavender Hill to build mews-style developments:1st stop.jpgThis will entail some minor changes to the IdeaSpace, as well as the replacement of an old and tired warehouse building that’s currently within Battersea Business Centre (pictured below – it’s unlikely that anyone will really mourn its loss).side view.jpgThese units are designed for short-to-medium term stay, and would be run as part of the existing serviced office facility, sharing a reception / concierge service, and with a priority working area within IdeaSpace for those resident in the apartments.

Usage areas BBC new plansTo show how the new apart hotel will work with the existing IdeaSpace facility, the diagram to the right shows the split of general office space (yellow), area where the apartment residents will have priority (green) and apartment space (blue).

The new building will include a basement, accessed from within the Business Centre, that’s designed to recreate the existing storage warehouse that is being lost in the development.

As we said on the initial proposal last year, this seems a generally sensible development provided the units do remain in use for short-to-medium term let and don’t just get converted to four houses (as the accommodation is built to a high density and isn’t really suitable for long term use).  It will probably also add to the activity in the IdeaSpace shared office, which does drive some trade to the rest of the street; and by including a new basement it doesn’t irrevocably remove business uses from the site. Importantly, it preserves an active and smart frontage to the IdeaSpace Lavender Hill unit, and ti also preserves the current amount of space in the Battersea Business Centre (a protected employment area).

At the time of writing this hasn’t yet gone out to public consultation, though chances it will in the coming days or weeks.  To see the full planning application, visit Wandsworth’s planning website where this proposal is application number 2019/5566.

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