Holiday Inn set to ‘harness the vibrancy of Brixton’ as huge hotel gets green light

Soon to be seen looming over the Prince of Wales pub in central Brixton is a new £4.5m Holiday Inn hotel, which has been enthusiastically endorsed by Lambeth Council.

Work is set to begin later this year to create a 188-room hotel, costing £4.5m, based around the former Woolworths site on Brixton Road, according to the Brixton Blog.

Access to the hotel will be from Coldharbour Lane via stairs and a lift from street level up to the main lobby, while the current ground-floor H&M and T-Mobile businesses will be unaffected by the development.

Ready and willing to start spouting estate agent blather at the drop of a hat, the architects Boyes Rees Architects (working on behalf of Crown Properties Ltd) have insisted that the hotel’s design will manage to “harness the vibrancy of Brixton” as well as be sympathetic to the Art Deco façade of the old 1935 Woolies building (see: Then and Now photos, 1930 and 2003).

Posting on the urban75 boards, a local resident voiced concerns about the ‘density of people/building; impact on local residents and local business,’ while another expresses dismay at the lack of consulatation:

But I am outraged that Lambeth seem to have completely failed to give this application the necessary publicity. Are the planners blissfully unaware that there are residents above some of the business premises in Electric Lane/Electric Avenue?

Elsewhere an e-petition has already been set up in opposition to the hotel plans, saying:

Coldharbour Lane is a mecca of small independent shops and restaurants. It has not yet succumbed to the high street giants like Starbucks and Costa that have invaded Brixton town centre over the past few years. What makes Brixton great is the independent businesses.

If Holiday Inn move to Coldharbour Lane, this is the start of the end of this beautiful vibrant and individual street.  Please sign this petition and keep Holiday Inn out of Coldharbour Lane.

Much as I agree with the sentiments about trying to keep High Streets full of independent stores, it should be pointed out that Brixton already has a Costa and a Starbucks on its main drag, right next to several phone shops and multinational chain stores.

Is this corporate ‘vibrancy-harnessing’ development good for Brixton?

What do you think? Is Holiday Inn coming to Brixton a good thing or just one more step on its journey to becoming just another identikit town centre?

Post your opinions in the comments box below, or join in with the discussion on the ever lively urban75 bulletin boards.