Hotel plan for Seager Distillery

The Deptford Dame reports that the developers of the Seager Distillery are planning to substitute the planned office space for a 4-star hotel, shifting the proposed gallery round the corner and installing a restaurant.

The application requests:

Change of use of permitted office (B1) floorspace within International House, and of permitted office (B1) and art gallery (sui generis) floorspace within Holland House to use as a 90 bedroom hotel (C1) with an ancillary ground floor restaurant (A3) on the ground floor of Holland House, along with a change of permitted use of two middle ground floor units of Norfolk House from office (B1) to art gallery (sui generis) at the redeveloped site of Old Seagar Distillery & Norfolk House, 4-12 Deptford Bridge SE8.

As The Dame says:

The developer was originally granted planning permission to convert the old distillery building that fronts on to Deptford Broadway into a ground-floor art gallery and six floors of office space.

But now they are claiming that they've had no interest in the office space, but have been approached by a hotel chain wanting space for a four star hotel with 90 rooms.

The Dame is concerned about the gallery being given a less prominent spot and that's a valid complaint, although galleries tend to cope pretty well in some unprepossessing locations and if we were going to start a gallery, we don't think we'd be too troubled about being shifted from facing on to a busy dual-carriageway to a quieter spot.

In our view, the more significant question is whether the loss of office space is a set-back for local economic development. Lewisham has relatively little high-quality office space with which to attract jobs. These developments are an opportunity to help redress the balance. As with Convoy's Wharf, office space is being lost to hotel space. In the case of Convoy's Wharf, we argued that hotels are an important creator of jobs and driver of economic activity and the same argument can be applied here. However, in this case, all of the office space is threatened. Is a large high-quality hotel in the area better than an office building? We don't know.

The other question is how a 4-star operator expects to make a success of this location. We sometimes accuse critics of other developments of suffering a failure of imagination, but we're experiencing one of those ourselves in this instance. We guess the operators are relying on the ready access to Greenwich and Canary Wharf via the DLR, in which case, Deptford will have to work hard to capitalise on the regular inflow of hotel guests.

45 comments:

fabhat said...

I just saw this article on Deptford Dame - and was about to post it on the forum - beat me to it as usual Nick!
Apart from the gallery having a better location on the high st, I think that office space will have a much better long term impact on the local economy in Deptford, than a hotel which would probably try and encourage people to only use their own facilitates (I saw that the application would include a restaurant on the ground floor) whereas office space is more likely to increase lunchtime trade, and hopefully provide local jobs - which of course the hotel may do too...
It would be so good if the development (one way or another) managed to sort out the nightmarish pedestrian crossing situation at Deptford Broadway, they may just have a lot of squashed guests/residents otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Better an Hotel that an empty office block. Once the demand for offices is there the Council can always take down the horrible school on the other side of the road. It is not a good location for a school anyway.

Anonymous said...

You don't think you should make a 'full disclosure' and also say that the company that employs you does substantial work for property developers Nick?

Homeless Harry said...

Blimey,a hotel in Deptford, the last one they had was Carrington House for dossers.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

In fact the site is quite close to a number of other Hotels mainly in Greenwich but also in Blackheath.

Not many in the New Cross and Peckham direction I grant you unless you count Backpackers Hostels of which I cam immediately think of three - any advance on three?.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - no, I don't. We don't work for Galliard and it's completely irrelevant that we work for, say, the owners of Covent Garden.

Feel free to expose the sinister fact that our Indian office does some work for British Airways on the thread about hot air balloons - a conflict of interest, if ever there was one!

Anonymous said...

I don't think office space would do very well, tbh, the London office market is pretty saturated - tons of empty space in SE1, for example, with more being created all the time (hoardes of cranes up in central London, building more).
Office space is only going to work in places like Lewisham/Deptford if the central London market is constrained, and that clearly isn't the case.
There is however a massive gap in the market for half-decent hotels to the south of Greenwich. All the way across SE London in fact.

mk said...

@fabhat - i've written numerous emails to the council about the lack of pedestrian signals at deptford broadway, but to no avail. wonder if some kind of petition might help?

darryl said...

There's already a Travelodge being built the other side of Deptford Bridge, the last bit of the Deals Gateway/OneSE8 development, and the old police section house in Catherine Grove, behind Greenwich Magistrates, is to become a boutique hotel.

Anonymous said...

Is this fast tracking hotels in the area for the olympics.

TM said...

Its a pretty poor business plan if the Hotels are just for the Olympics which only last two weeks.

I guess the hope is the Olympics will show case what East London has to offer and tempt visitors post 2012.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Darryl, but those are Greenwich.
Where are the half-decent hotels to the south of Greenwich? Can anyone name any in the vague vicinity of Brockley? Serious question, I would be very interested. The way I see it, your accomodation choices are Greenwich-ish (crap transport links to most of SE London) or SE1 (good choice of hotels, good transport links). Shame that SE4 loses the spending power which hotels bring to SE1.

Anonymous said...

A hotel in SE4? I wouldn't sink any money in one, there's no policy of not giving planning permission (as far as i know) so I guess hotel owners do not see the attraction.

Matt-Z said...

I thought La Lanterna was due to come back any time soon as a boutique hotel with in-built pizzeria?

Darryl said...

Yes, Darryl, but those are Greenwich.

So, oh brave anonymous commenter? Seager's about 200 yards away from being in Greenwich - there's obviously a desire to create a cluster of hotels and Seager slips into that.

As for fast-tracking hotels for 2012, Greenwich is explicitly encouraging hotel development (but got its fingers burned in Greenwich Market) and banking on that as an Olympic legacy. Heavens, even Eltham's getting a Travelodge (as is Charlton).

Anonymous said...

There is an hotel in Brockley: Biagio La Lanterna... still developing the mews side accomudation for keepers.

Anonymous said...

A speculative planning application has been made for an 80 room hotel in the centre of Lewisham on the car wish and car lot site opposite Maggie's Café.

Anonymous said...

wishy washy!

Paddyom said...

There are so many new hotels planned for Greenwich High Road already.

Theres the new Premier Inn which has just opened, an application for a boutique hotel called 'The Greenwich' in the big old red brick building on Catherine Grove, plans subimitted for a boutique hotel on the old industrial estate on the corner with Norman Road, another hotel planned for above the market, and now this one in SE8 a stones throw from Greenwich High Road. All this as well as the Ibis and Novotel which are all on the same street.

I cant see how a 4 star hotel could attract people with a 4 star budget to stay in such a noisy, littered, run-down and generally horrible location.

Paddyom said...

Also i reckon that after the Olympics when the hotel no longer works, it will be easier and cheaper for them to get permission to just switch it to Resi.

Anonymous said...

Well put, Paddyom. More buy-to-let single occupant flats, just what we need.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm a single occupant!

It's not all about being in a nice cosy family, going to delis and popping over to france for bloody family holidays for everyone here you know!

It Could be worse, you could be French said...

Single you say?

*imagines anon typing dressed in only Y-fronts in a rubbish strewn bedroom at mum & dad's*

Paolo said...

Just can't see where the trade for yet another hotel is going to come from

With the Premier Inn, the Travelodge at One Se8, the planned boutique hotel and now the Seager all within a 500 yard radius, there will be more hotels than there are houses

OK - you have the Olypmpics, but surely these companies can't be basing their business plans on just that. Can they?

Brockley Nick said...

The Olympics is a complete red herring. No hotel company will open one because of the Olympics, although they might be keen to open in time for the start of the Games. There's a lot of evidence that room price inflation during the Games will be counter-productive. And it's only four weeks. The Olympics represent just one month of good business - no one build a hotel for that.

The Premier Inn and Travelodge are clearly going for a different market to a four-star hotel, so that's a red-herring too.

Anonymous said...

So nobody can name any hotels other than those in Greenwich?

Anonymous said...

Can't beat Travelodges really - good honest hotels, not artisan stopovers!

Tressilliana said...

There's a guest house in Breakspears Road - St James' House, I think.

Anonymous said...

There is the Clarendon in Blackheath.

patrick1971 said...

There is also a B&B in Jerningham Road, and if I remember correctly a B&B in Catford won the UK B&B of the Year award a few years back.

Paolo said...

Brockley Nick

Even if the Olympics is a red herring, who is going to stay in these hotels?

Looking at the lower end of the market, to the best of my knowledge, the Greenwich Novotel is not constantly overflowing with guests.

So where is the custom going to come from to fill the Premier Inn on the High Rd,the Travelodge in OneSE8 and now a hotel in the Seager building?

That's 3 hotels in a 500 yd radius competing for the same market in an area that is not exactly touristy

On the other hand, a boutique hotel may be quite good for Greenwich but the old section house might be somewhat on the large side for anything wanting to describe itself as 'boutique'

Brockley Nick said...

@Paolo - that was my question in the article.

Like I say, I assume this is primarily aimed at a business traveller audience, who's not too bothered about the fact that the immediate surroundings are a little on the grotty side, so long as they can get to Canary Wharf nice and easily on the DLR and if they have time for a drink in the evening, Greenwich is easily accessible via the same line. It's not a huge hotel and hotel space at the Wharf itself is limited and probably significantly pricier. So you'd have accessibility and lower prices - could work.

Plus, if you've ever been to the Hilton Metropole on the Edgeware Road, you'll know that a traffic choked intersection isn't necessarily a deal-killer when it comes to business hotels.

It might also be a bet on the long-term prospects for this area.

Anonymous said...

Business travellers heading for Canary Wharf who choose to stay in Deptford and use the DLR? Seriously? It ain't happening.

Westsider said...

So your alternative explanation is?...

Paddyom said...

Alternative explanation is a resi conversion within 18 months of the hotel opening....

Westsider said...

That's the conspiracy theory, but I don't buy it. Hotel conversions aren't really any easier either from a construction or a planning perspective and what self-respecting hotel chain operator is going to take a hit to their finances and reputation to be involved in such a scam.

Alan Sugars Apprentice Reject. said...

yes, obviously opening a hotel and then having to change it to become flats (adding kitchen facilities to name but one big change) and having to go through the expense of a redesign and new planning application would be the best strategy.

TM said...

And of course LBL don't have to approve a resi conversion - change of use - but instead insist it remains a commercial use providing work.

Anonymous said...

@ Brockley Nick 10:27

How on Earth can you compare Edgeware Road to Deptford Broadway??? I could just as easily compare it to Times Square if noise and traffic are the main criteria. There's also quite a bit of pedestrian confusion there as well.

Hilton Docklands presumably caters to those Canary Wharf business travelers that choose Deptford, but it has quite a bit more to offer to 4* hotel clientele than the DLR and Noodle King.

Brockley Nick said...

I only compared the two intersections. Of the two, the Edgeware Road is worse. Of course, there are other differences between the two sites, but then this hotel is a very different proposition.

The Hilton Docklands caters for a similar market, but it is only one hotel. And it will have to pay higher rents, so presumably the room rates in the two hotels will reflect that.

Anyway, just to be clear, I'm not the one proposing to develop a hotel there, I'm just trying to work out how it will be viable. These decisions aren't taken lightly, so if you doubt my analysis, let's hear yours: you think it's for the tourist market? Or for business travellers doing a lot of work in Lewisham or Deptford? Or it's aimed at major conferences? Perhaps honeymooners are its target market?

Anonymous said...

There are so many posts on this that I'm sure this one won't get read but here goes; has anyone compared the former and proposed plans for the promised gallery? Are we willing to accept a halving of the floor area and a complete loss of the double height gallery space not to mention the prominent position. The hotel might be an issue but the burning one is that once again we are being cheated by the developer! Decision to be made 3rd aug (tomorrow). PLEASE get your objections to the planners before then!!

Rebecca Portsmouth said...

As someone living virtually next door to the development and another hotel being built, one of the biggest issues is parking - there is none. Whereas with office space, people get used to travelling on public transport, tourists and visitors may travel that way, but many will have cars and there is nowhere for them to go.

I also think it is a cop-out that the developers are saying there is no demand for office space. Surely they should do their homework first to find that out, rather than expecting a change of use from the council. Empty office space will not affect the local economy - just the owners' balance sheet. Perhaps bait and switch? Here's an art gallery in a prime location for an artistic neighbourhood? Oh no, let's shove it in a broom cupboard, now that we have permission to be here.

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