Six Hundred Room Hotel Planned for Nine Elms

17-storey tower could be built next to US Embassy

CGI of the proposed hotel building with the US Embassy to the right
CGI of the proposed hotel building with the Embassy to the right. Picture: Dominvs Group

October 8, 2020

Plans for a controversial 600 room hotel next to the US embassy in Nine Elms have been revealed.

The development by Dominvs Group would include two new hotel buildings of 17 and nine storeys, as well as a community cafe to support local residents to gain experience in the hospitality and tourism sector.

But local MP Marsha de Cordova and adjacent developers Ballymore have opposed the plans, mainly due to the increase in height compared to what was agreed in the original masterplan for the area.

A petition run by local residents against the scheme has also reached more than 500 signatures.

Ms de Cordova said in a letter to Wandsworth Council’s Chief Executive that the height will “have a huge impact” on the residents of Embassy Gardens and Elm Quay Court.

“The proposed development will not only restrict light to the surrounding buildings, it will also be a severe attack on the privacy of local residents,” she said.

“I understand that space is limited in London and more specifically in the Nine Elms area of Battersea and that tall buildings, though controversial are often necessary to build more homes. I am therefore not against tall buildings being built if they provide sufficient social housing as part of S106.

“However, this proposed development is a “super hotel”. The development will create a transient population which is at odds with the cohesive, thriving neighbourhood that the council hopes for at the end of Nine Elms development.

“The social housing waiting list in Wandsworth is close to 10,000. I fear this development will continue the social segregation we are seeing across Battersea and throughout Wandsworth as a whole.”

CGI of proposed view from Ponton Road. Picture: Dominvs Group

Developers Ballymore also expressed concern that the proposals may negatively impact their existing residents, even though they support the principle of hotel development on the site.

A letter from project director Michael Hughes, said, “Many existing residents purchased homes in Phase 1, particularly at upper levels of the Ambassador Building, on the assumption that their views towards the US Embassy and the Thames would remain intact.”

It concluded, “The height and mass of the current proposals will negatively impact the amenity and views of existing Embassy Gardens residents. It is not considered that adequate justification has been provided to support a tall building in this location and it is requested that the height and scale of these proposals are reviewed.”

However there have also been 13 letters of support so far, and two general comments.

Chief Executive of the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, Steve Pinto, said, “[We] firmly believe the new town centre will benefit from the new high-quality hotels proposed in this application, which would additionally bring economic benefits to local businesses and boost the local economy through increased spending in the area.

“From an initial meeting with the developers we understand that the hotel would generate up to £1.4m spending in the local area during the construction phase and provide between £5.6m and £8.9m of local expenditure by hotel guests.”

Dominvs Director, Jay Ahluwalia, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the hotel plans will create approximately 350 new jobs through construction to operation and provide a positive boost for local businesses.

He said, “New, high quality public space along Ponton Road and attractive landscaped routes will open up the site and connect the local area, which is great news for local residents. We are also providing a community training café in collaboration with Wandsworth Work Match to provide practical experience and training in the hospitality sector.

“We have consulted widely with our neighbours on the plans and will continue to discuss our proposals with Wandsworth Council to respond to local concerns.”

You can comment on the application here.

The development will be decided by Wandsworth Council’s planning committee later this year.

Sian Bayley, Local Democracy reporter