The Premier Inn close to the Lavender Hill / Wandsworth Road junction is growing. It currently has a little-advertised basement car park with 18 spaces for guests and staff (including two disabled spaces). They’ve been underused for the last few years (and aren’t even featured on the hotel’s website), and in 2018 the hotel successfully applied for planning permission to close the car park and convert it to an additional 13 bedrooms – taking the total to 105 rooms, and work is now underway.
Work is now underway to remove the car park (pictured above), and infill the space. It’s a relatively straightforward project as there are already a few rooms on the rest of the basement floor (so the lifts and stairs already serve that level), and the works are using the old car park access on Willard Street to minimise disruption to the hotel.
The plan for the new rooms, (c) CHQ Architects
While loss of car parking is always a tricky issue, it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of both staff and guests at the hotel use public transport, so the impact on neighbouring streets is likely to be minimal. Back when the hotel was built it involved the sensitive restoration of the front section of the old Temperance Hall (which had become very derelict in the years after previous occupier Rileys closed), which was locally very popular, and by making it a smart hotel in an increasingly well connected location it has served the business well. These new works – at the back of the basement level – will be hardly noticeable.
The original development of the hotel seemed a bit of a gamble, being quite far from any tube or railway station – however it has been a clear success, consistently being more or less full and receiving excellent reviews for its facilities (which are at the higher end of the standard for a Premier Inn) and its enthusiastic and helpful staff (indeed your writer has previously stayed there, and had nothing but praise for the team managing the hotel). We’ve also seen a steady flow of hotel guests visiting other local businesses (notably cafes). We suspect Premier Inn will have no trouble at all filling 13 more rooms.