Mayor asked to block Hammersmith skyscraper

By Owen Sheppard, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents have called on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to block the planning permission given to a controversial skyscraper hotel.

Up to 120 residents are railing against Hammersmith and Fulham council’s planning committee decision to approve the 23-storey hotel, which would be the tallest building in the area.

Dominvs Group hopes to build it after demolishing the magistrates’ court which closed in 2017.

It will comprise two buildings, one at 10 storeys and a 23-storey tower at the north side, with 842 bedrooms, a gym, restaurant and viewing platform.

Despite nearly 150 local objections, and speeches from MP Andy Slaughter and a local ward councillor, the committee voted the plans through on July 21.

With the planning permission, Dominvs agreed it will pay the council £7.5million as part of a Section 106 agreement, to be spent on local improvements.

Among the complaints levelled against the development, were:

  • That it will “tower over” the neighbouring Ark building and residential streets to the south
  • It will increase traffic in residential streets already blighted by rat-running
  • Its architectural style is “bland”
  • A new hotel “does not recognise” the new economic reality “post-Covid”
  • That it will spoil the setting of Margravine Cemetery and Barons Court Conservation Area

St Dunstan’s Road resident Ludolph Van Hasselt wrote to the London Mayor and the government asking both to “call-in” the development, effectively taking the decision out of the council’s hands.

Mr Hasselt’s letter alleges that the development would be in breach of a myriad of local planning guidelines.

Hammersmith and Fulham council was offered the chance to comment but could not respond before this story went to publication.

Mr Khan’s office replied to Mr Hasselt, informing him the planning application needs to be referred to the Mayor by the council’s planning team.

Once this happens, Mr Khan will have 14 days to decide whether to take over, or to let the development go ahead unchanged.

Mr Hasselt has also received a letter from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which said ministers could intervene at a later stage.

Many residents have spoken of their anger about the development.

Lisa Sheppard, who is spearheading a Save Our Hammersmith campaign, said: “It will set such a terrible precedent. We’re going to be the next Croydon if we keep going this way.

“Some developments have been really good and have added value to the community, like the Riverside Studios and around Lyric Square.”

The 56-year-old from Margravine Gardens continued: “But with hotels you just get transient visitors and it will be the defining landmark in Hammersmith that people can see for miles.”

Pictured top: An artist’s impression of what the new hotel building could look like

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