Holiday Inn (now Premier 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.

7 Comments on “Holiday Inn (now Premier Inn) set to ‘harness the vibrancy of Brixton’ as huge hotel gets green light”

  1. What about the effect of this on the currently thriving Brixton nightlife? With Brixton Clubhouse practically next door, I can bet there won’t be any more late night music events on the terrace, if this goes ahead! The events I have attended on the terrace have been great, and the venue is a welcome addition to Brixton. Surely the hotel will enforce low noise levels /restrict late night events etc?

  2. Tahlee: I fear for a lot of Brixton’s nighlife. When the new executive luxury flats open up opposite the Albert/414 on Coldharbour Lane, I expect the well heeled, vibrancy seeking newcomers to promptly start complaining about the noise.

  3. You quote my petition in your article. To clarify, my point was that we already have an identikit high street on Brixton Road with its Starbucks and Costa – Coldharbour Lane has not yet succumbed. I say we should keep it that way!

  4. Speaking as a visitor, there really is a market for this sort of accomodation in Brixton. Yes I would rather it was provided by independent B and Bs but I think you need to be realistic.

    That said, I can understand you not wanting your area turning into a tourist trap a la Camden….

  5. Personally I welcome the development. An international hotel chain willing to invest in the area is surely a good thing. As fars as I understand, there will be an entrance in Coldharbour Lane and the hotel itself will be built on top of the structure which holds H&M, KFC, Prince of Wakes etc.
    A hotel is a perfect use of the space on top of the building and hotel rooms are in short supply in this part of London.
    Woolworths were there for decades and they were hardly diverse. Better that H&M replaced them than another pound shop or similar. M&S have been in Brixton for over 100 years, Boots, KFC, Mcdonalds etc for decades and so on. Like them or loathe them, those chains are a healthy sign of confidence.

    Brixton is big enough and vibrant enough to be able to accommodate new businesses of all sizes who provide much needed employment and services for it’s residents. The side streets around the High Street and the market are buzzing with independent traders and they would surely welcome the arrival of hotel guests who will be potential customers.

    Imagine you were a Tottenham resident, one year on after the riots of August 2011…you would be begging Holiday Inn to invest in your area.

  6. I have to say, as a Brixton resident, I welcome this as well. Brixton is indeed a thriving independant business community and as long as this development doesn’t tarnish that image then more people can only be a good thing.

    Having friends and family coming to London and now having somewhere good value and local to stay will be a benefit also.

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